The prime minister accused the tech giant of "not paying their fair share," and claimed that its actions, which came about as a direct result of the Liberals' Bill C-18, were "bad for democracy."
"People have questions about whether they've lost their home, whether they need to evacuate, about how things are going, and that's where local news is so important," Trudeau began, referencing the wildfires that continue to wreak havoc on communities across the country. He praised those working to ensure up-to-date information is available, calling their actions "unbelievably essential to keeping Canadians safe."
Trudeau then turned his attention to the big tech companies who have pulled news from their sites, saying it was "so inconceivable" that a company such as Facebook would "choose to put corporate profits ahead of ensuring local news organizations can get up-to-date information to Canadians" online.
He suggested that the ban was "bad for democracy" in the long run, but highlighted the ramifications being felt in the present moment by large swathes of the Canadian population.
Not once in his speech did the prime minister take responsibility for pushing the bill that, predictably, led Meta to take the actions it did. Users on Twitter, however, where news is still accessible, were quick to place the blame directly at his feet.
"To make it through this speech with a straight face is quite an achievement," one user wrote. "YOU, [Trudeau], forced an ultimatum, YOU are costing the journalists money, YOU are at fault for news not being shared."
"Now if only [Zuckerberg] could at least help get the news out about the wildfires, help save some lives, be the bigger person, that would be great."
After giving countless warnings, Meta announced on August 1 that it had begun the process of "ending news availability permanently in Canada." Despite pleas from the Trudeau Liberals to abide by Bill C-18, which would require big tech companies to compensate news organizations for their content, Meta has not backed down.
A similar situation unfolded following the passing of an online news act in Australia in 2021, however, the blocking of news lasted only a week before Facebook reversed its decision.
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