During the Christchurch Call to Action summit in Paris, Justin Trudeau pledged to introduce a “digital charter” to combat hate speech on the internet.
Trudeau, who didn’t specify the extent of the charter, claimed that its intent was to battle hate, misinformation and election interference online.
A number of different countries were signatories at the summit including Canada, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. However, the United States chose to opt out of the agreement citing freedom of speech concerns.
“We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes. We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” claimed a press release by the US government.
In his statement, Trudeau warned the social media sector that there would be “financial consequences” for companies that don’t tow the government’s line.
“They have to step up in a major way to counter disinformation and if they don’t, we will hold them to account and there will be meaningful financial consequences,” said Trudeau.
Recently Liberal MPs have claimed that social media companies like Google are not taking Canadian law seriously. Parliamentarians have accused social media giants like Facebook and Google of circumventing Canadian copyright laws among other things.
According to a report by True North, the Canadian government has been recently looking into censoring “toxic communications” on social media platforms.
As part of their effort the Liberals hope to screen out hateful and right-wing extremist content from reaching Canadians.
According to the text of the Christchurch Call to Action the measures include “closing accounts where appropriate”, and developing “information-sharing processes” with social media companies to adapt with government definitions and protocols around online hate activity.