Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Canada calls Facebook haphazard for arbitrarily blocking news. The social media platform owned by Meta was ordered to unblock it so that Canadians could share information about forest fires.
Representatives of the Canadian government, according Reuters, on Friday last week asked Meta to end its “perfunctory” block of domestic news on Facebook and Instagram.
Meta started blocking news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada this month. The news block move was Meta’s response to new rules requiring internet platforms to pay media companies for compensation for using news articles.
According to Reuters, Canadians fleeing forest fires in western Canada have complained about the actions of Facebook and Instagram. According to refugees, blocking news makes it difficult for them to share important information and data related to forest fires.
“Meta’s gratuitous choice to block news… interferes with access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram,” said Canada’s Minister for Heritage Conservation, Pascale St-Onge. “We asked them to bring back news sharing today for the safety of Canadians in an emergency. Right now, we need more news, not less.”
Canadian Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez previously said blocking news meant citizens had no access to important information.
Canadian lawmaker Chriss Bittle previously complained that Meta’s action of blocking news was “perfunctory and irresponsible.”
Ollie Williams, manager of a radio station in an area affected by forest fires, said local residents circumvented the news block on Facebook by sharing information using cellphone screenshots. Facebook users in Canada can no longer share news links on the platform.
A spokesman for Mete said the company had activated the “Safety Check” feature on Facebook so that platform users could report that they were safe.
Canadian citizens, he continued, can also access content from government agencies, emergency responders, and non-governmental organizations.
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