Online hate is spreading faster than ever before. Too often, what starts with online radicalization can turn into real-world violence. As Canadians spend more time on social media, online hate poses a serious and growing threat.
It’s time for the Government of Canada to take action by reducing toxic hatred online.
Online hate is a threat to millions of Canadians.
The use of social media has become a core component of our lives. Increasingly, organizations and individuals fueled by hate are using popular platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, as well as other emerging platforms like Parler and 8Chan to spread their toxic ideas and recruit followers who will promote their hatred.
These online activities have real-world consequences.
We are asking the Government of Canada to:
Our Policy Asks
Establish an independent regulator that has the power to enforce Canadian regulations, notably by applying meaningful penalties to providers that violate them.
Develop clear, harmonized, uniform regulations that apply to internet and social media companies (providers) operating in Canada. These regulations must clearly define hate/hatred. We believe the best way to achieve this is to stick closely to Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence (Keegstra, criminal law; and Whatcott, human rights law) and international conventions (e.g. Rabat Plan of Action; six indicators of hate speech).
Per Building a Foundation for Change, Canada’s anti-racism policy adopted in June 2019, with its explicit all-of-government approach, the regulations should include the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism as a guide to identify and eliminate antisemitic content.
The regulations should include a mandatory directive to providers to include the definitions of hate/hatred (pt 2 above) and the IHRA definition of antisemitism in their user policies, codes of conduct, algorithms, moderator policies and terms of service.
Providers should make it easier for users to flag hateful content and understand how their complaints are being adjudicated and according to what timeline.
Increase transparency on internal policies, procedures, and guidelines, including on how artificial intelligence/algorithms are programmed.
Monitor and regulate emerging platforms as well as large providers.
Make executives and board members of providers personally liable for repeated transgressions of Canadian regulations.
Compel providers to apply similar standards/approaches that already exist for copyright violation to hateful content.
Compel providers to regularly run digital citizenry campaigns to educate their users, not unlike Public Service Announcements on broadcast media.
Classify providers as publishers (rather than distributors) and regulate accordingly.
Strengthen Canadian law and compel providers to be gatekeepers to their platforms. Put the onus on providers to ensure hateful content does not get published on their platforms.
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