Canada’s Trudeau pledges ‘consequences’ for disinformation on online platforms

May 16, 2019

(Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday promised that efforts to regulate social media in Canada would include “meaningful financial consequences” for online platforms that fail to counter disinformation.

Speaking at the VivaTech technology conference in Paris, Trudeau said a digital charter being considered by the Canadian government would cover issues of access and transparency, but offered few details.

“The platforms are failing their users. And they’re failing our citizens,” he said. “They have to step up in a major way to counter disinformation. And if they don’t, we will hold them to account, and there will be meaningful financial consequences.”

It was Trudeau’s clearest statement yet on Canada’s plans to regulate social media companies. Speaking with reporters later, Trudeau said the government would have more to say “in the coming weeks and months.”

Canada’s Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said in April the government was considering enacting new regulations to help combat potential foreign interference in the country’s October election.

On Wednesday, Trudeau joined other world leaders and industry for a meeting in Paris to support a call by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for stronger measures against social media hate speech after a gunman killed 51 people in Christchurch and streamed the attack live on his Facebook page.

(Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Tyler Choi; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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