May 20th, 2024

Trudeau says Meta news ban degrades safety while it makes billions off communities


By The Canadian Press on May 10, 2024.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about the upcoming wildfire season at the West Kelowna Fire Rescue hall in West Kelowna, B.C., on Friday, May 10, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Hemens

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s dispute with Meta is a “test moment” for the country to stand against the social media giant that’s making billions off people, but taking no responsibility for the well-being of communities they profit from.

Trudeau made his comments in West Kelowna, one of several B.C. communities involved in evacuations of thousands of people last summer, while information about wildfires and escape routes were blocked on Meta’s Facebook platform.

Meta has blocked Canadian news from Facebook over the federal government’s Online News Act, that seeks compensation for news outlets whose stories are used on Facebook feeds.

Trudeau says he knows there are many people trying to figure out ways to keep everyone informed, especially in emergency situations, but countries need to stand up for journalism, not bow down to companies that make billions while they degrade democracy.

The prime minister says he met with mayors and fires chiefs today where wildfires swept through last year, along with a number of families who lost homes in the B.C. Interior and are still impacted by the situation.

He was in West Kelowna last August, just days after a wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

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