Canadian minister urges Meta to unblock users

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge has called on Meta to unblock Canada so the country can share information ravaging western Canada.

Meta on August 1 banned Canadians from viewing or sharing news content on its platforms after the country after the country passed a law on June 1 that required companies like Meta to pay for news.

“Meta’s reckless choice to block news before the Act is in force is hurting access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge tweeted Friday.

“We are calling on them to reinstate news sharing today for the safety of Canadians facing this emergency. We need more news right now, not less.”

In the Northwest Territories, there are more than 200 ongoing wildfires as of August 19. Several adjacent villages, including Yellowknife, a population of around 20,000 people, are currently under a Level 3 evacuation order, requiring citizens to leave right away.

Nearly 400 wildfires are burning in British Columbia, which is to the southwest of the Northwest Territories, and thousands of people are being evacuated from Kelowna and the surrounding area, according to CBC News.

People in Canada can still utilise other features to share information on the wildfires, a Meta spokeswoman told Insider in a statement.

“In times of crisis, Safety Check allows people to request support, check on loved ones and access updates from reputable sources,” the spokesperson said.

“People in Canada can continue to use our technologies to connect with their communities and access reputable information, including content from official government agencies, emergency services and non-governmental organizations.” The spokesperson added.

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