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June 17th, 2022

NDP wants more transparency online to protect Canadians against hate and misinformation

Web Giants must be held accountable for online algorithms that discriminate against people, and feed hate and misinformation

OTTAWA — Today, NDP House Leader Peter Julian tabled a bill that would help tackle online discrimination, misinformation and hate harming Canadians. If passed, Julian’s proposal will ensure that profitable Web Giants expose the algorithms they use to target audiences. This will allow the public, civil society, government, and other democratic institutions to hold them accountable for online algorithms that discriminate against specific communities and regions, and that feed people misinformation and harmful content.
“We have seen over the years, particularly during the pandemic, how quickly misinformation and hate can spread online and harm individuals and communities,” said Julian. “And experts have observed how algorithms can discriminate against communities by targeting regions for job postings and other ads. It is wrong to rob people of opportunities based on where they live and who they are. We must ensure online platforms and communication service providers are transparent about their algorithms to force them to change their behaviour and better protect Canadians from harmful content and discriminatory practices.”
According to experts, social media algorithms lead young people and adults further and further down a dangerous path once they start engaging with suspect online channels and pages. What can begin with a harmless online search could lead to a cycle of misinformation and hateful narratives against racialized and religious communities. The NDP’s aims is to break that cycle by ensuring more transparency and accountability.
“We also know that content creators who spread misinformation and hate are making huge profits every time someone clicks on their content — and online platforms and search engines are also profiting from delivering their content,” said Julian. “Profiting from harmful information that negatively impacts people shouldn’t be tolerated. We must fix this, and I invite all parliamentarians to support this bill that aims to protect Canadians from harmful online content.”