Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said that his department will look “very, very carefully” at legislation which would force social media to remove “extremist” content.
The announcement comes only several days after the devastating and fatal Christchurch terrorist attack on March 15th where 50 mosque-goers were murdered and another 50 suffered injuries.
The shooter involved in the incident cited far-right beliefs behind his motivations and mentioned several message boards and websites as places of radicalization.
“This has been a subject of discussion among ministers at the Five Eyes meetings and at the G7 meetings where ample discussion has been held on how we encourage the social media platforms to move quickly and efficiently to deal with toxic communications like this that incite violence and hatred and obviously do great damage to social cohesion,” said Goodale.
In the latest Liberal budget, $366,985 in funding has been allocated for research into the motivations and beliefs of right-wing extremist groups in Canada.
Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have reiterated their commitment to monitor their platforms for hateful content but Minister Goodale believes further government intervention might be necessary.
“I think the public is beginning to lose some patience with the ‘we’re doing our best’ argument. They want to see effective action and I think we need to examine all of the tools,” said Goodale.
It is unclear whether the Liberal government will have time to pass sweeping legislation in time for the October 2019 election but according to Goodale, this is not out of the question.
“We want to think our way through this very carefully but that does not mean taking a long time to do it,” he said.