Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Blasts Meta for Blocking News During Wildfires


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — seen here in Charlottetown on Sunday — accused Meta of "putting corporate profits ahead of people's safety" during a press conference on Monday. Photo: Brian McInnis/Canadian Press

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday blasted Meta for banning domestic news from its platforms as wildfires rage, saying up-to-date information during a crisis is crucial.

“Facebook is putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety,” he told a televised news conference in the Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island, saying the company’s actions were “inconceivable.”

Trudeau‘s comments represent the latest government attack on Meta, which this month started blocking news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for all users in Canada in response to a new law requiring internet giants to pay for news articles.


Federal Liberal cabinet ministers last week described the ban as reckless and irresponsible. Some people fleeing wildfires complained to domestic media that the ban prevented them from sharing important data about the fires.

“It’s time for us to expect more from corporations like Facebook that are making billions of dollars off of Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Meta was not immediately available for comment.

A company spokesperson previously pointed out that Canadians can still access information from official government agencies, emergency services and non-governmental organizations on the platform.

Facebook has also activated the “Safety Check” feature that allows users to spread the word that they are safe in the wake of a natural disaster or a crisis.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil; Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Mark Porter)


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