Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Goodale turns up heat on social-media companies over hateful and violent content
Media Monitor
Media Monitor - Terms and Conditions

Media Monitor is Canada's leading database for news stories on the broadcasting system, media ownership and cultural policies in Canada. The purpose of this database is to collect and preserve news stories relating to these issues, without modification, so that the public may, without cost, access the database for the purposes of scholarship, research, private study and related purposes.

One example of fair dealing is downloading a single copy of an article or part of an article for your own research or private study. The materials on this database are protected by the Canadian Copyright Act, and apart from the exercise of fair user rights, no unauthorized use or reproduction is permitted without the consent of the copyright owners. If you are willing to restrict your use of this database to the uses permitted by the Canadian Copyright Act, then please click Accept below.

Goodale turns up heat on social-media companies over hateful and violent content

Written by
Daniel LeBlanc
Published by
Globe & Mail
on
April 5th, 2019

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter will test the public’s patience if they fail to exercise better control on the content that they help to disseminate around the world.

The Canadian government is joining its G7 allies in calling on social-media companies to find new ways to block hate speech and violent content on their platforms or bear a legal and financial cost for the resulting social harm.

Speaking after a meeting of G7 interior ministers on Friday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter will test the public’s patience if they fail to exercise better control on the content that they help to disseminate around the world.

Mr. Goodale referred to the content posted as part of the March 15 attack on two mosques in New Zealand. Prior to the attack, a 74-page "manifesto” was posted to an online right-wing forum, including a link to a Facebook page where a helmet-camera documented the shooting in a graphic 17-minute video. A gunman went on to kill 49 people in their place of worship.

“The clear message was they have to show us clear progress or governments will use their legislative and regulatory authorities. The message that would get their attention most significantly is when the point is made they may be held legally accountable, and financially accountable, for the social harms that their platforms contribute to and from which they make money," Mr. Goodale said in a telephone interview from Paris.

Mr. Goodale said there was an agreement at the G7 meeting that social-media companies have yet to find the appropriate technology to block violent content from appearing on the platforms and being easily shared.

Stay informed, subscribe to the FRIENDS newsletter

Required

You are a few fields away from becoming a friend.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

“Should we treat violent, right-wing extremism just as we would treat a threat from Daesh or ISIL? Yes indeed. It needs to be handled with the same degree of gravity,” he said. “There is a real determination among the G7 countries that we want to see the Internet companies moving faster, being more effective at keeping this stuff off the platforms and prevent it from being shared, prevent it from having the dire consequences that it can have.”

Mr. Goodale said the Canadian government does not have immediate plans to bring in new legislative or regulatory controls over social-media companies, but will insist on “demonstrable” changes.

“Canada will be one of [the countries] demanding that. If we don’t see enough progress fast enough, then we are prepared to act,” Mr. Goodale said.

Social-media companies have relied on artificial intelligence to deal with hate speech and violence on their platforms. Still, the massacre in New Zealand exposed shortcomings in the automated systems that companies say are key to keeping their platforms safe.

Facebook removed 1.2 million attempts to upload copies of the videos in the first 24 hours after the attack, although another 300,000 copies made it through.

YouTube suspended a function that let users search for the most recently uploaded videos, because copies of the attack were going up faster than the site could take them down.

© Globe and Mail

In this article
Stand up with us and fight for our culture and democracy.