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B.C. cuts deal with Meta, Google on youth safety, emergency info

The B.C. government and social media giants have made what they call a “historic collaboration” for youth safety online.

A joint statement from Premier David Eby and representatives of Meta, Google, TikTok, X and Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, says they met to help young people stay safe online, one of the most important challenges facing families, government and companies.

At its first meeting earlier this month, the group says they discussed broad-scale co-operation because online predators like those who have targeted children in B.C. don’t limit themselves to just one platform.

The companies have committed to providing B.C. with so-called direct escalation channels that will allow for quick reporting of non-consensual intimate images being placed online even before a protection order is issued.

The statement says that will make it easier for those in B.C. to get the images taken down quickly, demonstrating the platforms’ commitment to protecting privacy online and “promoting responsible digital behaviour.”

The meeting comes after the B.C. government put its online harms legislation on hold last month because it reached an agreement with the companies to talk about solutions for protecting people’s safety and privacy online.

“Recognizing the shared goal of teens having safe, age-appropriate experiences online, action-table participants agreed that future meetings would continue to emphasize new actions to promote youth safety online,” the statement says.

Also under discussion at the table was how the companies can help amplify official information for people in emergency situations like wildfires.

“Meta has agreed to establish a direct line of communication that will ensure response measures are closely co-ordinated as

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