British Columbia's premier issued a direct plea to the head of Meta on Monday as he implored the social media giant to reinstate access to Canadian news on its platforms amid the province's ongoing wildfire crisis.
David Eby said it feels as though the social media giant is holding the province "ransom" in its ongoing spat with the federal government while it continues to ban news sharing on its Facebook and Instagram platforms.
During a wildfire briefing Monday, Eby implored the company and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to open up access to critical information that could help keep residents safe as the province grapples with devastating wildfires that have forced thousands of people from their homes.
"This is not a time for making that political point," he said. "This is a time for Facebook and Instagram to use the network that they built, frankly on the backs of local media, to communicate with British Columbians about what they need to hear, what information they need, about what's happening in their local communities."
Eby said Meta's decision to permanently ban Canadian news on its platforms is "incredibly frustrating" and he hopes "common sense prevails."
"It feels a bit like they're holding British Columbians for ransom to make a point with Ottawa, and I just can't express how unacceptable that is when we see local companies bending over backwards to support local residents," he said.
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