Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday criticized Meta for blocking news in the country on its platforms, saying Facebook’s parent company was prioritizing corporate profits over people’s safety as devastating bushfires force dozens of thousands of people leaving their homes.
Trudeau’s comments represent the latest government attack on Meta, which this month began 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. News.
Meta had long signaled that the Online News Law was unsustainable for its business because it puts a price on links shared by users. The company applied the ban ahead of the law’s expected implementation later this year.
“Facebook is putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety,” Trudeau told a televised news conference in the Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island, calling the company’s actions “inconceivable”.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last week, government ministers described the ban as reckless and irresponsible. Some people fleeing wildfires complained to Canadian media that the ban prevented them from sharing important data about the fires.
“It’s time we expected more from corporations like Facebook that are making billions of dollars off of Canadians,” Trudeau said.
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.
Canada is going through its worst wildfire season on record, and fires last week ravaged the western province of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.