National Newswatch

Twitter banning political ads in Canada until election campaign

Jun 26 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Online giant Twitter has decided to ban political ads in Canada in the lead-up to the federal election this fall. Faced with new election rules that kick in this weekend, Twitter says it won’t allow ads for parties and candidates until campaigning for the Oct. 21 vote begins. “Twitter will be prohibiting partisan and political […]

Poll finds 90% of Canadians have fallen for fake news

Jun 11 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Ninety per cent of Canadians say they have fallen for fake news online, with many listing Facebook as the most common source of misleading reports, according to a new international public opinion poll. The poll of 25,229 internet users, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Canada’s Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), found that only […]

Facebook has known since 2018 it was being used to incite hate

Jun 6 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Facebook knew as early as 2018 that its platform was being used to incite division and violence, a company official told Canadian MPs on Thursday. Testifying at justice committee hearings into online hate, Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada, said the company realized long before this year’s deadly attack in Sri Lanka […]

YouTube moves to ban neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denying videos

Jun 5 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — YouTube says it is cracking down on hate speech on its platform, banning videos that promote neo-Nazi ideology or claim that events like the Holocaust never took place. But while the company will begin enforcing its new policy today, it admits that it could take months before all of the content is removed.

Google defends efforts to prevent hate speech, extremism online

Jun 4 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Google says it is working hard to eliminate hate speech from platforms like YouTube, using machine learning to catch problematic online content — sometimes before they’ve been seen by anybody. Testifying today before justice committee hearings on the spread of online hate speech, Colin McKay, head of government affairs and public policy for Google Canada, […]

New tools, stiffer penalties needed to police big tech companies, says competition watchdog

May 31 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — The federal government should boost the penalties for anti-competitive behaviour to more effectively regulate tech giants and the digital economy, says Canada’s competition watchdog. “The maximum penalties for anti-competitive behaviour are, quite simply, not high enough in Canada, meaning we lack the teeth necessary to deter anti-competitive behaviour and promote compliance,” Commissioner of Competition Matthew […]

Facebook says it will blow whistle on attempts to interfere in election

May 27 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Facebook says it will take down accounts that try to interfere with the upcoming federal election and make those attempts public, regardless of whether the federal government decides to advise Canadians of any efforts to interfere. In an interview with CBC News, Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada, said the tech giant […]

Ethics committee votes to subpoena Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Cambridge Analytica

May 7 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Parliament’s ethics committee voted Tuesday to subpoena Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and its CEO Sheryl Sandberg to testify before an international committee of parliamentarians meeting later this month to probe the Cambridge Analytica scandal. While parliamentary committees can compel witnesses to testify, it remains unclear how a Canadian parliamentary committee can force an American tech […]

Ruling in Trudeau-Aga Khan case could change rules for unpaid lobbyists

Apr 16 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — A Federal Court ruling in a case that centres on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial vacation on the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas has opened the door to bringing unpaid lobbyists under Canada’s lobbying law. In his 50-page ruling, Justice Patrick Gleeson ordered Commissioner of Lobbying Nancy Bélanger to reconsider her predecessor Karen […]

Facebook faces possible class action lawsuit over job ads

Apr 11 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Facebook could be hit with a class action lawsuit in Canada alleging that the social media giant has facilitated discrimination in ads for jobs and housing based on factors such as age and gender. The Montreal law firm IMK LLP filed an application for authorization to institute a class action in Quebec Superior Court Thursday. […]

Employment minister calls for investigation of Facebook job ads

Apr 9 2019 — Elizabeth Thompson — Employment Minister Patty Hajdu is calling on the Canadian Human Rights Commission to examine how employers use Facebook tools to microtarget job ads at particular age ranges, something experts say could violate Canadian human rights laws. “From my perspective, it’s behaviour that is breaking the law,” Hajdu said on her way into question period Monday. […]