Wildfire evacuees frustrated by Facebook news ban in Canada

Concern over shortage of reliable news after articles blocked on Facebook in response to tech law
24 August 2023
Image by CyberBeat

Meta’s news ban is affecting communications during Canada’s worst ever wildfire season. 

Placing thousands of Canadians at risk with a shortage of news content across Meta’s platforms.

Meta began blocking news from appearing across its platforms in Canada this month after prolonged negotiations with the government over Canada’s new Online News Act.

Canada’s heritage minister, Pascale St-Onge, said: “[Meta] would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news instead of paying their fair share to news organisations.”

The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and others have said the move is dangerous for democracy, damaging for journalism and will fuel the spread of misinformation and fake news.

Meta began blocking access to news for its Canadian users on 1 August, not long after Canada's parliament passed an online news bill that will require platforms like Google and Meta to negotiate deals with news publishers for content. 

Meta has called the law "fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work".

In response to questions from the BBC, a Meta spokesperson declined to comment on the ban and its impact on evacuees. However last week, the company added a safety check-in feature on the platform.

- CyberBeat


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