Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has accused Facebook of putting “profits ahead of people’s safety” after it blocked news amid devastating wildfires in the country.
Facebook banned news on its platform in response to Canadian law forcing it to share profit with news outlets.
Wildfire evacuees have said the ban has impacted their ability to share critical news with each other.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, calls the law “fundamentally flawed”.
The prime minister, during a televised news conference on Monday, said the actions of Meta were “inconceivable”.
The company has blocked news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada since 1 August, after the country’s parliament passed an online news bill that requires platforms like Google and Meta to negotiate deals with news publishers for content.
Meta has faced significant criticism from Canadian officials since then. On Saturday, Canada’s heritage minister, Pascale St-Onge, said in a post on social media that the company is blocking “essential information” for users.
She added that this is being done despite the law – dubbed Bill C-18 or the Online News Act- not going into effect yet. In an earlier post, she called Meta’s decision “reckless”.
Meta has called the law “fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work”.