The tech giant Google is encouraging Canadians to learn about and oppose the Trudeau government’s Online Streaming Act, better known as Bill C-11.
Google Canada is warning Canadians that Bill C-11 will change the YouTube user experience. Google published a Twitter thread linking to a blog post as well as a petition made in collaboration with OpenMedia, pressuring the Senate to amend the bill before it is passed.
“We want to make sure that Canadians are aware of how #BillC11 could change your @YouTube experience,” reads the Twitter post, encouraging Canadians to learn more about the legislation.
Bill C-11 was passed in the House of Commons with the support of all parties except for the Conservatives and awaits the Senate’s approval of the legislation before coming into effect.
If passed, C-11 will provide the CRTC with the power to regulate online publishing, including imposing Canadian content restrictions on platforms like YouTube and Netflix, similar to the regulatory authority the CRTC currently has over Canadian radio and television broadcasts.
The CRTC is expected to skew recommended content to feature more “Canadian content.” However, the extent of their powers and what qualifies as “Canadian content” is unclear and will be determined by the CRTC after the bill’s passing.
The OpenMedia petition asserts that “the CRTC is being given breathtakingly broad authority to regulate almost ALL audiovisual content on online platforms as broadcasting content.”
“Your favourite content, and even your own uploads, could be systemically downranked in favour of content that the CRTC deems “Canadian enough,” according to their wildly outdated 1980s-era criteria.”
A blog post by YouTube’s chief product officer warns that the personalized experience YouTube curates for its users is jeopardized by the C-11, as the platform would have to alter its algorithms to comply with the government standard.
“In its current form, Bill C-11 would require YouTube to manipulate these systems, and surface content according to the CRTC’s priorities, rather than the interests of Canadian users,” reads the blog post.
“Put into practice, this means that when viewers come to the YouTube homepage, they’re served content that a Canadian Government regulator has prioritized, rather than content they are interested in.”
Google has been vocal about its opposition to the legislation, voicing its concerns throughout the legislative process about the Trudeau government’s effort to regulate user-generated content.
While the Senate can make amendments to Bill C-11, the House of Commons is not obligated to accept the amendments, and the legislation would be given Royal Assent as it is.