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Canadian Lawmakers Want to Punish Online Platforms For Allowing “Misinformation” Spread

By Cindy Harper November 1, 2023

The Canadian Parliament has become the latest global player in a widening tug-of-war geared towards constraining the tide of “misinformation” seeping into the digital landscape.

The House Ethics Committee in the North American province of Ottawa is calling for the imposing of stringent repercussions on tech giants whom they claim are complicit in disseminating “unverified” or “deceptive” content online.

The Committee’s directives come after an exhaustive ten-month investigation focused primarily on the mounting concern of foreign interference, particularly from powerhouse nations such as China and Russia. It held eight separate public consultation sessions throughout its investigatory period, featuring input from 23 key witnesses.

Vice-chair of the Committee, Bloc Quebecois MP Rene Villemure, emphasized the urgent need for decisive action, mirroring similar controversial legislative combat seen by the European Union, which has imposed significant online regulations to control the spread of digital falsehoods.

“At some point companies will have to understand that they’re actors and they’re not the government,” Villemure said.

“What happens online is basically shaping society, and if we’re not acting in a decisive manner, they will shape society to the bottom.”

Villemure refrains from laying down a specific strategy but looks to the European Union as a potential model. He refers to the European Commission’s recent judicious testing of its new digital laws during the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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