Canadian prime minister blasts Meta over block

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Monday, criticised Meta for removing news from its platforms.

He said that the parent company of Facebook was putting profit before of safety, as horrific wildfires drive tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

“Facebook is putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety,” Trudeau said during a televised news conference in the Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island, calling the company’s conduct “inconceivable.”

In reaction to a new law mandating internet companies to pay for news stories, Meta last month began censoring news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for all Canadian users. Trudeau’s remarks constitute the latest government attack on Meta.

The Online News Act, which puts a price on links that users share, is unsustainable for Meta’s business, therefore the company enforced the news ban before the law’s anticipated implementation at the end of this year.

Last Monday, Liberal federal cabinet ministers criticised the prohibition as being careless and dangerous. Some evacuees from wildfires complained to local media that the prohibition made it impossible for them to share crucial information about the blaze.

British Columbia in the west and the Northwest Territories have been devastated by fires during the past week as Canada experiences its worst wildfire season on record.

However, a Meta spokeswoman, Canadians continue to utilise its platforms to interact with their neighbours and receive information, including material from recognised government organisations, emergency services, and non-profit groups.

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