A prominent human rights group is leveling some serious concerns over Canada’s proposed online hate speech legislation.
Penned by B’nai Brith Canada, a report entitled How Social Media Algorithms Fuel Hate Speech And Misinformation says the new rules are so far-reaching it would do a better job censoring fair and legitimate comment over actually battling online hate.
“It remains to be seen what the fate of this bill will be,” states the report, first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter. “Given the minority government, it is unclear whether this legislation will be introduced and implemented.”
Bill C-36 was one of three online censorship bills that died on the order paper when Parliament was dissolved prior to the snap summer election, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed interest in resurrecting them once the house resumes sitting.
The bill, which forbids online comment “likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group,” proposed fines as high as $70,000 for offenders and, according to a backgrounder released by the Justice Department, it would apply to “public communications by individual users on the internet, including on social media, on personal websites and in mass emails.”
Self-publishers such as bloggers and journalists, as well as internet comment sections, would also be covered.
“The technical paper raised a significant number of questions as to the feasibility of enforcement,” B’Nai Brith states in their report. “This could result in the removal of a significant number of posts that do not violate hate speech laws and could create more issues down the road.”