Vancouver: B.C. Premier David Eby said he is “astonished” that social media giant Meta continues to block Canadian news content on its Facebook and Instagram platforms despite the ongoing wildfire crisis.

Eby describes the decision to continue the ban as incredibly frustrating, saying it “feels a bit like they’re holding British Columbians for ransom to make a point with Ottawa.”

Eby also made an open plea to Meta co-founder and C-E-O Mark Zuckerberg to open up access to Canadian media, since B-C residents need to be able to share critical local information to stay safe.

Social media conglomerate Meta has responded to David Eby’s criticism, saying it has been clear since February about the potential fallout from Canada’s Online News Act.

A statement from Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, says the company has continued to connect people with emergency information through Safety Checks and access to crisis response pages for Kelowna and Yellowknife.

Meta also says Canadians can continue accessing news online by directly going to local news outlets websites, apps and subscription services. — Canadian Press 

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