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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed Facebook’s parent company Meta for blocking news content in Canada, as the country fights massive wildfires that have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from their homes, and provinces to declare states of emergency, Bloomberg reported.

The prime minister blamed the US-based social media company for “choosing to put corporate profits ahead of ensuring that local news organizations can get up-to-date information to Canadians and reach them.”

“In a larger picture, that’s bad for democracy because democracy depends on people being able to trust high-quality journalism and of all sorts of different perspectives and points of view,” he added. “But right now, in an emergency situation, up-to-date local information is more important than ever.”

This month, Meta began blocking news on its sites in Canada after Ottawa passed the Online News Act, which requires digital platforms to negotiate payments with local publishers for content.

While news distribution doesn’t solely rely on Facebook and Instagram, these platforms were one of the key avenues for media outlets to connect with their audience.

This means that links and content shared by publishers and broadcasters on these platforms are no longer accessible to people in Canada. Users within the country are also unable to read and share articles.

Still, Meta representatives countered that they will stand by their decision to block news content, adding that people in Canada can still use Facebook and Instagram to engage with their communities and access reliable information, including official content, according to the New York Post.

The act has drawn criticism from tech companies, with Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Meta, saying that the law wrongly assumes that the company gains excessive benefits from shared news content.

Google, owned by Alphabet, is also planning to block news in response to the law.

Meanwhile, Trudeau has deployed the military to deal with fast-spreading wildfires in British Columbia that have resulted in the evacuation of more than 35,000 people and the province to declare a state of emergency. At the same time, the Northwest Territories capital of Yellowknife ordered the evacuation of the entire city.

Canada has experienced an unprecedented number of wildfires this year with blazes that have produced heavy smoke that has even affected parts of the United States, including New York City.

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