Recently, a far-right mob stormed the US Capitol building. Offices were ransacked, documents were stolen, and five people were killed. All at the behest of Donald Trump.
Democratic institutions were attacked by an unruly mob and we can thank social media platforms for that.
Trump’s hatred would never have circulated as quickly and as efficiently without the help of social media platforms. For almost a year, Trump has been riling up his supporters in advance of an election he knew he was bound to lose. On Facebook, his supporters organized themselves into a frenzied mob, using the platform and its editorial algorithms to spread their message of hate far and wide.
Facebook’s tacit endorsement and circulation of illegal, treasonous, content would have landed any other publisher in jail. There are consequences for inciting violence. But it’s just another day at the office for Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.
And before we get ahead of ourselves: if we’re not careful, Trump’s politics will come to Canada.
As in the United States, the Canadian government does not hold companies like Facebook and Twitter responsible for the material they publish and broadcast, even in the most extreme cases—like Trump’s incitement to his supporters to overthrow their democracy.
Tell Ottawa to strengthen the Broadcasting Act now to make sure publishers like Facebook are liable for the illegal content they disseminate.
It’s past time for the government to do its job and enforce Canadian law in the digital domain. Social media companies are publishers. Let's govern them that way.
Tell Ottawa there can be no platform for hate in Canada. Sign the petition!