An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The Canadian government on Friday demanded that Meta lift a “reckless” ban on domestic news from its platforms to allow people to share information about wildfires in the west of the country. Meta started blocking news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for all users in Canada this month in response to a new law requiring internet giants to pay for news articles. Some people fleeing wildfires in the remote northern town of Yellowknife have complained to domestic media that the ban prevented them from sharing important data about the fires.
“Meta’s reckless choice to block news … is hurting access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram,” Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a social media post. “We are calling on them to reinstate news sharing today for the safety of Canadians facing this emergency. We need more news right now, not less,” she said. Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez earlier said the ban meant people did not have access to crucial information. Chris Bittle, a legislator for the ruling Liberal Party, complained on Thursday that “Meta’s actions to block news are reckless and irresponsible.” Ollie Williams, who runs Yellowknife’s Cabin Radio digital radio station, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that people were posting screen shots of information on Facebook since they could not share links to news feeds. A Meta spokesperson responded by saying that the company had activated the “Safety Check” feature on Facebook that allows users to mark that they are safe in the wake of a natural disaster or a crisis.