On Tuesday, lawmakers in Ottawa passed a new bill that would control content distributed by social media platforms and streaming services, much to the ire of critics that caution the move could encroach on individual speech.
As reported by Bloomberg, the latest legislation, called Bill C-10, was drafted by the Liberal government in an effort to subject major tech companies such as Netflix and TikTok Inc to the same regulations as traditional broadcasters, ultimately governing the algorithms used to recommend content to users. However, the Act is being met with considerable criticism, as it could disrupt individual speech on digital platforms that otherwise are reliant on user-generated content.
It still remains unknown if the bill will ultimately become law, given that it first needs to gain approval via the Senate. Nevertheless, the Trudeau government welcomed the latest move, with Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault saying that “There are other issues we have to address when it comes to broadcasting and creation, and we will,” but “Bill C-10 is a first step in that direction.”
Over the past several years, governments have been attempting to modernize regulations in an effort to better address the growing reach of the digital economy. In Canada, particularly, policy makers and government officials have grown worried about conserving domestic cultural industries in a world where an increasing number of Canadians rely on digital companies for video and music streaming.
Under current law, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) determines what is considered Canadian and non-Canadian content, with the power to issue fines or even deny the broadcaster their license to operate. This has forced television and radio broadcasters to distribute domestic content, thus diminishing the influence of US culture. However, under Bill C-10, the CRTC would be granted that same regulatory capacity over digital media companies.
As per the Liberal government’s latest law, internet companies will be required to disclose information about their sources of revenue, allocate a portion of their profits towards supporting Canadian content, as well as amplify or increase the visibility of Canadian content. However, if implemented, the Canadian government still faces the challenge of regulating internet content without impairing individual freedom of expression.
According to University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, Bill C-10 is opaque on this issue, given that some sections of the bill can be interpreted as assuming user content will not be regulated, while other sections suggest that content created on social media sites will be. “It is not at all clear how this would be implemented. Would Canadians be required to disclose that they’re Canadian to meet these requirements?” He told Bloomberg. “It’s hard enough frankly to identify what constitutes Canadian content for conventional broadcast.”
nformation for this briefing was found via Bloomberg. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.