Meta’s blocking of news sharing on its social media in Canada has hampered authorities and residents’ access to crucial information about the wildfires devastating the country. In normal situations, the platforms also serve as a hub for important information related to crisis scenarios.
For those in a hurry:
- The blocking of Meta news has prevented Canadian officials and residents from accessing crucial information about the wildfires;
- Heritage Minister Pascale St-Oge said in a social media post that Meta’s decision was “reckless”;
- A Meta representative said Canadians can access content from government agencies and emergency services on Big Tech social media;
- The representative added that the company has enabled a feature that allows users to report on their safety after natural disasters or crises.
Heritage Minister Pascale St-Oge said in a social media post that Meta’s “reckless” decision to block news puts access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram at risk.
A Meta representative told Reuters the company has enabled the “Safety Check” feature on Facebook, allowing users to report on their safety after natural disasters or crises.
He added that Canadians can access content from government agencies, emergency services and non-governmental organizations through Facebook and Instagram.
Blocking targets and news
The news blocking measure on Facebook and Instagram was announced on June 23, in response to the approval of a bill in the Canadian Parliament that aims to regulate the remuneration of journalistic vehicles by major digital platforms. However, the ban did not go into effect until August.
Meta justified its decision by saying that users do not primarily use its platform to consume news and that requiring payment for shared content is impractical for its businesses. Google also joined in the action, limiting news links for users in Canada.
Due to the crisis created by the fires in the country, several other ministers of state and parliamentarians are asking Meta to reconsider the ban and allow the sharing of information again, arguing that the restriction prevents access to crucial information, according to the newspaper. The Guardian.
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