Briefing: The Drive to Devise New Rules for Online Platforms and Social Media

A roundup of research, analysis and discussion on platform governance from CIGI experts.

June 28, 2021

The question of regulation of digital spaces gained new urgency following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, after which platforms began to block then-president Donald Trump, and to moderate or remove harmful content related to the events in Washington.

The platforms’ decisions prompted a global discussion about self-regulation in the tech sector, and reminded policy makers that no nation is immune to the spread of harmful content or the possibility of radicalization. They also flagged the need for regulators to assess these platforms’ reach into and impact on traditional media sectors.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has brought forward legislation meant to rein in the powers of big tech. The wide-ranging changes are intended to supplement the country’s patchwork of existing laws that address data privacy, content moderation and hate speech.

One prong of this legislation, Bill C-10, is intended to subject technology platforms, such as Google, TikTok and Facebook, along with streaming services such as Netflix, to regulatory standards such as those that govern traditional broadcasters and publishers. The legislation passed third reading in the House of Commons on June 22, 2021. It has yet to receive Senate approval or Royal Assent. Critics have warned that Bill C-10 could infringe on free speech, by imposing new regulations on what individual Canadians can post, read and view online.

As Canada embarks on its effort to regulate digital spaces, we’ve compiled some of CIGI’s recent work on privacy protection, content moderation and new models for global platform governance.





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