29 February 2024

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Canada requests Meta to lift ban on domestic news on Instagram, Facebook

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The Canadian government asked on Friday that Meta lift its “reckless” prohibition on local news from its platforms, allowing individuals to post information about wildfires in the country’s west.

This month, Meta began limiting news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for all Canadian users in reaction to a new law mandating internet corporations to pay for news stories.

Some individuals escaping wildfires in Yellowknife, a remote northern town, have complained to domestic media that the prohibition prevents them from sharing critical information about the burning.

“Meta’s reckless decision to block news… is undermining access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram,” Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge wrote on social media.

“We are urging them to reintroduce news sharing today for the safety of Canadians caught up in this emergency.” “Right now, we need more news, not less,” she remarked.

Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez previously stated that the prohibition prevented people from accessing critical information.

On Thursday, Chris Bittle, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, said that “Meta’s actions to block news are reckless and irresponsible.”

People were sharing screen images of material on Facebook, according to Ollie Williams, who manages Yellowknife’s Cabin Radio digital radio station, because they couldn’t share links to news feeds.

Meta Response

In response, a Meta spokesman said via email that the firm has activated Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature, which allows users to share the news that they are safe in the aftermath of a natural catastrophe or crisis.

According to the spokeswoman, Canadians can view content from official government agencies, emergency services, and non-governmental organizations via Facebook and Instagram.

Users do not come to Meta for news, according to the company, and expecting it to pay for anything published on its platforms is unsustainable.