Platforms for Harm?

Monday, September 21, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Public Event: Virtual Event
Sep 21

For almost 30 years the World Wide Web has been open to the public, but with the advent of user-generated content in the early 2000s, the promise of a truly decentralized and unmoderated communications network appears to have been realized. For some time though, it has been clear that Web 2.0 is a double-edged sword: the benefits of increased global connectivity, communication and economic growth are now being overshadowed by hate speech, bullying, disinformation, and other illegal or otherwise objectionable content.

And as the shadow side of the ungoverned web takes hold, democratic governments are wracked with the question of how to hold the platforms accountable for their role in perpetuating these harms in a manner that respects and upholds free expression.

We live in a society where 1 in 5 young Canadians are or have been victims of cyberbullying and cyber harassment, and female politicians are being inundated with hateful and misogynistic attacks online. Who is responsible for managing this harmful content and mitigating risk in this new field of prevention? How is Canada positioned to protect its citizens without unduly compromising free expression?

The Centre of International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting invite you to join this interactive panel discussion on Monday, September 21, 2020 at 12 PM ET. This panel of platform governance experts and lawyers will share their unique opinions and firsthand experiences with online harmful content and aim to identify a balance of free speech and the rule of law in relation to harmful content online.


  • Rita Trichur, Senior Business Writer and Columnist, The Globe and Mail



Event Speakers

Rita Trichur is an award-winning journalist. She is a Senior Business Writer and Columnist in the Report on Business for the Globe and Mail.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna was elected as the first female Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre in 2015. Minister McKenna has earned a reputation as a skilled negotiator and tenacious community builder. Minister McKenna previously worked as a lawyer in Canada and Indonesia and as a negotiator with the United Nations mission in East Timor, and taught at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She also co-founded the charitable organization Level Justice.

Daniel Bernhard is FRIENDS' Executive Director and Spokesperson.

Taylor Owen is a CIGI senior fellow and the editor of Models for Platform Governance. He is an expert on the governance of emerging technologies, journalism and media studies, and on the international relations of digital technology. 

Heidi Tworek is assistant professor of international history at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She works on media, international organizations and transatlantic relations. She is a member of the Science and Technology Studies program, the Language Science Initiative, and the Institute for European Studies at UBC. She is a visiting fellow at the Joint Center for History and Economics at Harvard University as well as a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.