Elon Musk has waded into the discussion over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans to further regulate online conduct and speech, calling it an attempt to “muzzle” Canadians.
The owner of Twitter was responding to a social media post by True North’s Andrew Lawton concerning the bills.
“Canada’s Liberal government wants to regulate internet content and deputize social media companies to enforce ‘hate speech’ bans (with a low and murky threshold for what ‘hate speech’ is). I hope [Elon Musk] takes a stand against this,” Lawton posted, late Tuesday evening.
“Sounds like an attempt to muzzle the voice of the people of Canada,” Musk wrote to Lawton on Wednesday morning. The post – like many of Musk’s – was quickly liked tens of thousands of times.
Musk isn’t the only leading tech figure to have concerns with Liberal online legislation. YouTube is currently campaigning against Bill C-11, which could see online platforms forced to tweak their algorithm to promote content favoured by the federal government.
“Your YouTube feed is uniquely yours. Bill C-11 could change that,” reads billboards purchased by YouTube that are placed throughout downtown Toronto. The ad encourages viewers to sign a petition against C-11.
Bill C-11, which has been dubbed Trudeau’s “online censorship” legislation, isn’t the only piece of legislation targeting the online realm. Bill C-18 has likewise created controversy among online giants, as it attempts to get online platforms to pay Canadian news organizations for the posting of their story links.
A previous hate speech law – Bill C-36 – died on the order paper in advance of the 2021 election, but the Liberals have pledged to bring it back. They’ve previously discussed the need to make laws against vaguely defined “online harms” as well as create a Digital Safety Commissioner who is empowered to police Canadians’ online comments.