Facebook is currently locked in a battle with the Canadian government over legislation that would require the social media giant to pay news publishers when their content is shared. In retaliation, Facebook has cut off all news in the country, creating a void that can easily be filled by bad actors spouting misinformation. And with a devastating wildfire emergency currently raging across Canada, this move couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Many citizens and lawmakers alike have blasted Facebook for cutting off news during such a dangerous time, with some noting that it’s difficult to find correct information about evacuations and fire patterns on the platform. Many users have also reported that they have resorted to sharing screenshots of news stories about the emergency, because if they say where the story is from, Facebook will block it.
“This is far more than simply an annoyance right now. This is a matter — in some cases literally — of survival,” communications professor Greg Taylor told the CBC. “You can argue back and forth about the bill itself that’s underlying this, but at the core… it’s an emergency and citizens need access to information and Facebook is not there for them right now.”
Cases like this always make it painfully clear how reliant many people are on Facebook — and how the company may have far too much power over our lives.
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