Mutual Learning Conference on October 24th, 2023

  What can democracies learn from one another to protect human rights? The Canadian Network on Information and Security (CANIS) has joined forces with the Canadian International Council and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in a process of mutual learning between Canada and Germany. Join us in person or online to learn about distortions to democratic debate and institutions caused by disinformation.  Continue reading

Big Tech Takes on Canada

Earlier this year, the Canadian federal government enacted bill C-18, the Online News Act, which will compel large tech platforms to fairly compensate Canadian news organizations for news content shared on their platforms. The aim of the Act is to protect Canadian news outlets and ensure financial remuneration for their content. In response, Google, and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced they would be removing access to all Canadian news content on their platforms. Meta has already begun restricting access, with Google planning to follow suit by the end of the year. The Canadian federal government has not been able to successfully negotiate a deal with Google and Meta that will prevent the news block from going ahead.   What does this mean? Continue reading

August 8, 2023: Media groups ask Competition Bureau to investigate Meta's move to block news in Canada

Numerous Canadian news publishers and broadcasters are requesting that Canada's Competition Bureau investigate Meta's decision to block news content on its platforms, describing Meta as abusing its dominant position in the social media market. Continue reading

August 6, 2023: CAJ urges Meta, Google, government, and news organizations to uphold the public’s right to know

The Canadian Association of Journalists calls on Meta to reverse its decision to prevent Canadians from viewing or sharing news articles on its platforms, citing the role of digital platforms in strengthening journalism in Canada.  Continue reading

July 21, 2023: Meta's lack of fact-checking and restriction on Threads

Meta’s new social media platform ‘Threads’ was launched in early July without implementing a fact-checking program or policies against hate speech. Far-right users and extremists have taken to the platform to echo disinformation and hate speech, including conspiracy theories and anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, and racist rhetoric. The platform has been active for three weeks without any indication from Meta on when or if harmful content will be monitored and censored. Continue reading

July 18, 2023: Pedophilia as the Weapon Online Hate Campaigns Wield Against Trans People

In an echo of the hate campaigns that targeted homosexuals throughout much of the 20th century, anti-trans hate campaigns are also leveraging pedophilia fears.  In one recent online disinformation campaign documented on Agence France Presse, a hate group doctored a photo to make it appear that a middle-aged man at a Pride parade was wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Trans Kids Are Sexy.’ In the unretouched photo, the man is wearing a plain white T-shirt with nothing on it.  Continue reading

July 11, 2023: Call to Violence Against the LGBTQ+ Community in Cameroon

News of a visit by Jean-Marc Berthon, the French ambassador for the Rights of LGBTQ+ Persons, sparked public outcry this past month in Cameroon. Citizens, public figures, and government and political officials alike took to social media calling for mob justice and violence against the LGBTQ community. The uproar prompted various false and hateful narratives about LGBTQ individuals, leaving Cameroon’s LGBTQ population under constant threat of harassment and violence. Continue reading

July 6, 2023: Rise in Xenophobic and Racist Disinformation Throughout Europe

The influx of riots and demonstrations in France over the last month has become the subject of much disinformation and several fake news stories across Europe. An analysis of the EDMO fact-checking network showed that the posts circulating online, which are allegedly the protests in France, are clips resurfaced from old videos and photos unrelated to the ongoing protests. The majority of the false narratives appear to be aimed at magnifying the violence of the protests or using the protests as a pretext to spread well-known xenophobic and racist disinformation. Continue reading

July 5, 2023: Canada stops advertising with Facebook and Instagram in news row

Canada's federal government has pulled almost 10 million dollars of advertising from Facebook and Instagram in response to Meta’s news ban. Continue reading

Comparative Research on Disinformation

Outcomes of a May 30 meeting between German and Canadian scholars   Mutual learning between democracies The proliferation of disinformation and the corrosive effect it has on democratic systems of government have generated a growing field of research in liberal democracies.  This has created a wealth of learning that pro-democracy actors across the world can draw from in our respective efforts to build the resilience of democratic systems. But how comparable are disinformation campaigns in countries with different languages, political cultures, and usage patterns for the digital communications technologies in which political life now occurs?  How might we generate comparisons useful enough to drive policy change? As part of our efforts to support mutual learning between democracies, the Canadian International Council and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Canada brought together experts on disinformation from both Germany and Canada in Toronto on May 30. Continue reading