Canadian Government Calls for End to Meta Lift News Ban to Enable Wildfire Info Sharing


On Friday, the Canadian government called on Meta to lift its “reckless” ban on domestic news from its platforms. This was in response to a new law requiring internet giants to pay for news articles. The ban had been blocking news on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada, and caused a problem for those fleeing wildfires in Yellowknife who could not share important information about the fires.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a social media post that the block was “hurt[ing] access to vital information” and called on them to reinstate news sharing “for the safety of Canadians facing this emergency”. Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez echoed this sentiment, saying that people did not have access to crucial information.

Chris Bittle, a legislator for the ruling Liberal Party, also criticized Meta’s decision, calling it “reckless and irresponsible”. Meanwhile, people in Yellowknife had to resort to posting screenshots instead of news links, according to Ollie Williams, who runs the local digital radio station, Cabin Radio.

In response, a Meta spokesperson said that the company had activated the “Safety Check” feature on Facebook, which allows users to mark that they are safe during a crisis or natural disaster.

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