The Liberal party has told an advocacy group that it will regulate social media content if re-elected.
The response came after the Ukrainian Canadian Congress sent a questionnaire to all federal parties, which included a question on “online hate and disinformation.”
In its response, the Liberal party made it clear that social media companies will have to abide by government “hate speech” rules or face consequences.
“To help stop the proliferation of violent extremism online, we will move forward with new regulations for social media platforms starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech, within 24 hours or face significant financial penalties,” the Liberal response said.
“This will also include other online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda.”
The Conservatives, the Greens, and the NDP all told the Ukrainian Canadian Congress that they would not create additional internet regulations.
Internet censorship and regulation has been floated by the Trudeau government since first being elected in 2015.
In May, Justin Trudeau warned of vague “financial consequences” for social media companies that fail to censor content to the government’s liking.
“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,” he said.
The plan the Liberals announced later in May for a “digital charter” to regulate the internet remains equally broad and vague, leading to questions about the extent a digital charter could be used for censorship.
Liberal concern about “disinformation” and fake news appears to only slanted towards one side of the political spectrum, with the government spending $366,985 to study right-wing extremist beliefs without apparent concern about left-wing extremism.
Some commentators are suggesting that internet censorship is already on the rise.
One example of which is Press For Truth, a conservative-libertarian Facebook page that got shut down without warning in 2018 despite being well-established with over 350,000 followers.
The Liberal party ended its response to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress by vowing to prosecute those who spread “hate speech” without going into details.
“Because hate speech continues to harm people offline as well, we will also look at options for civil remedies for victims of hate speech,” the response said.