Do you ever feel emotionally hurt when browsing the internet? Have you ever experienced the harsh realities of life online and wished to just curl up in a ball and cry?
If so, Canada might be the place for you, as Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is preparing to introduce a “online harms” bill that would protect people from the difficulties of social media interaction.
This is not to say that there are not a lot of things that need to be regulated in regards to the internet, such as privacy protection, data collection, swarming, data storage and trafficking, algorithm manipulation, tracking, abuse of market power, and other such matters. There are events such as the “How to Regulate the Internet” forum being held next week at the University of British Columbia that may discuss these topics.
However, Rodriguez seems to be fixated on controlling what people can say and how they can say it. Similarly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet colleagues often mention “misinformation” and “disinformation” while spreading their own. CBC President Catherine Tait is another example, as she blames social media for the lack of trust in her organization’s journalism.
It is true that there are a lot of false claims on the internet. However, the most dangerous lies come from powerful and influential people, such as those who insist that Russian bots on Facebook elected Donald Trump, the Freedom Convoy was a heavily-armed and seditious white supremacy coup attempt, and masks should still be mandatory.
Heritage staff conducted two consultations in 2021 and 2022, and while the 2021 consultations resulted in a lot of skepticism and concerns about the preservation of civil liberties, the 2022 roundtables resulted in “overall agreement and consensus over the need for government action in addressing online safety.” You can find the list of participants here.
Konrad von Finckenstein and I wrote a Macdonald-Laurier Institute policy paper to ensure that social media companies were consistently applying their standards and not favoring one political perspective over another. However, it seems that Canada will be going beyond suppressing already illegal and blocked material and will be banning content that causes offense and hurt feelings.
The one thing you can’t say without offending someone is the truth. A lot of people can’t handle it.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
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