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Capitol violence sparks a social media reckoning with Trump – Powell River Peak

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All it took for social-media giants Twitter and Facebook to even temporarily bar President Donald Trump from addressing their vast audiences was a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, fueled by years of false statements, conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric from the president.

On Wednesday, in an unprecedented step, the two companies temporarily suspended Trump from posting to their platforms after a mob of his supporters stormed the house of Congress. It was the most aggressive action either company has yet taken against Trump, who more than a decade ago embraced the immediacy and scale of Twitter to rally loyalists, castigate enemies and spread false rumours.

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Twitter locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours and said that future violations by Trump could result in a permanent suspension. The company required the removal of three of Trump’s tweets, including a short video in which he urged those supporters to “go home” while also repeating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election. Trump’s account deleted those posts, Twitter said; had they remained, Twitter had threatened to extend his suspension.

Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, followed up in the evening, announcing that Trump wouldn’t be able to post for 24 hours following two violations of its policies. The White House did not immediately offer a response to the actions.

While some cheered the platforms’ actions, experts noted that the companies’ actions follow years of hemming and hawing on Trump and his supporters spreading dangerous misinformation and encouraging violence that have contributed to Wednesday’s violence.

Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media, said Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C. are a direct result of Trump’s use of social media to spread propaganda and disinformation, and that the platforms should bear some responsibility for their inaction.

“This is what happens,” said Grygiel. “We didn’t just see a breach at the Capitol. Social media platforms have been breached by the president repeatedly. This is disinformation. This was a coup attempt in the United States.”

Grygiel said the platform’s decision to remove the video — and Twitter’s suspension — are too little, too late.

“They’re creeping along towards firmer action,” Grygiel said, calling Trump “Exhibit A” for the need for greater regulation of social media. “Social media is complicit in this because he has repeatedly used social media to incite violence. It’s a culmination of years of propaganda and abuse of media by the president of the United States.”

Trump posted that video more than two hours after protesters entered the Capitol, interrupting lawmakers meeting in an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

So far, YouTube has not taken similar action to muzzle Trump, although it said it also removed Trump’s video. But that video remained available as of Wednesday afternoon.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice-president of integrity, said on Twitter Wednesday that the video was removed because it “contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Rosen said on Twitter.

Twitter initially left the video up but blocked people from being able to retweet it or comment on it. Only later in the day did the platform delete it entirely.

Trump opened his video saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”

After repeating false claims about voter fraud affecting the election, Trump went on to say: “We can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. He posted his video as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers and the death of at least one person.

Trump has harnessed social media — especially Twitter — as a potent tool for spreading misinformation about the election. Wednesday’s riot only increased calls to ban Trump from the platform.

“The President has promoted sedition and incited violence,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement. “More than anything, what is happening right now at the Capitol is a direct result of the fear and disinformation that has been spewed consistently from the Oval Office.”

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Social media companies should face new legal duty to 'act responsibly,' expert panel finds – The Tri-City News

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Social media companies can’t be trusted to moderate themselves, so it falls to the government to enforce new restrictions to protect Canadians from harmful content online, according to a report currently under review by the federal heritage minister.

The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, an expert panel of seven members, including former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, said it had become difficult to ignore the fact too many real-world manifestations of online interactions are turning violent, destructive or hateful, despite social media’s parallel role in empowering positive social movements.

The panellists were particularly struck by the role they saw social media play last fall in “sowing distrust” in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, culminating in the lethal invasion of the U.S. Capitol. And they found, with the Quebec mosque shooting, the Toronto van attack and the armed invasion of Rideau Hall, that “Canada is not immune.”

“We recognize the charter, we recognize the ability of people to express themselves freely,” said Jean La Rose, former chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and one of the seven commissioners, in an interview.

“But there must be limits at one point. There has to be limits as to where free speech becomes a racist discourse, or a hurtful discourse, or a hateful discourse.”

‘We have been at the receiving end of racist threats’

These limits would come in the form of a new law passed by Parliament, the commission recommended, that would force social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, search engines like Google and its video-sharing site YouTube and others to adhere to a new “duty to act responsibly.”

The panel purposefully did not spell out what responsible behaviour should look like. Instead, it said this determination should be left to the government — as well as a new regulator that would oversee a code of conduct for the industry and a new “social media council” that would bring together the platforms with civil society and other groups.

La Rose said his experience in the journalism world demonstrated how there needed to be reasonable limits on what people can freely express so they are not permitted to call for the killings of Muslims, for example, or encourage violence against an individual by posting their home address or other personal details online.

“Having worked in media, having worked at APTN, for example, we have been at the receiving end of racist threats, of severe injury to our people, our reporters and others because of the view we present of the situation of the Indigenous community in Canada,” he said.

“Literally, we’ve had some reporters run off the road when they were covering a story because people were trying to block the telling of that story. So as a news entity, we have seen how far sometimes misinformation, hate and hurtful comments can go.”

Rules must reflect issue’s ‘inherent complexity’: Google

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has himself recently indicated that legislation to address “online hate” will be introduced “very soon.”

The minister has pointed to the popularity of such a move: a recent survey by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), for example, found that fully four-fifths of Canadians are on board with forcing social media companies to rapidly take down hateful content.

“Canadians are now asking their government to hold social media companies accountable for the content that appears on their platforms,” Guilbeault said after the CRRF survey was published.

“This is exactly what we intend to do, by introducing new regulations that will require online platforms to remove illegal and hateful content before they cause more harm and damage.”

Guilbeault has met with the commission to discuss their recommendations and is currently reviewing their report, press secretary Camille Gagné-Raynauld confirmed.

Representatives from Facebook Canada and Twitter Canada were among several people who provided witness testimony and participated in commission deliberations, the report said. Twitter declined comment to Canada’s National Observer.

“We haven’t reviewed the full report yet, so we can’t comment on the specific recommendations,” said Kevin Chan, global director and head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “We have community standards that govern what is and isn’t allowed on our platform, and in most cases those standards go well beyond what’s required by law.”

Chan also said Facebook agreed regulators should make “clear rules for the internet” so private companies aren’t left to make decisions themselves.

Google spokesperson Lauren Skelly said the company shares Canadians’ concerns about harmful content online and said YouTube takes its responsibility to remove content that violates its policies “extremely seriously.” She said the company has significantly ramped up daily removals of hate speech and removed millions of videos last quarter for violations.

“Any regulation needs to reflect the inherent complexity of the issue and the scale at which online platforms operate,” said Skelly. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and local partners on addressing the spread of online hate to ensure a safer and open internet that works for all Canadians.”

Incentives ‘not aligned with the public interest’: Jaffer

The nine-month study by the commission, an initiative led by the Public Policy Forum, found that with everything from disinformation campaigns to conspiracy theories, hate speech and people targeted for harm, toxic content was being “amplified” by the actions of social media companies.

The study rejected the notion that social media platforms are “neutral disseminators of information,” finding instead that they curate content to serve their own commercial interests.

“The business model of some of the major social media companies involves keeping people engaged with their platforms as much as possible. And it turns out that keeping people engaged means feeding them sensational content because that’s what keeps people clicking,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and another commissioner.

“The incentives for social media companies are not aligned with the public interest. These are private companies whose obligation is to make money for their shareholders.”

The commission also proposed a tribunal to deal with dispute resolutions quickly, as well as a “transparency regime” that would require social media companies to make certain information available to the regulator, including the “algorithmic architecture used to identify problematic content.”

Jaffer wrote a “concurring statement” in the report, where he confessed it was difficult to endorse the commission’s proposed “duty to act responsibly” without going further to define how that duty will work in reality. He said defining it will require “difficult tradeoffs” between free speech, privacy and other issues.

Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Wednesday, January, 27, 2021, 16:00 EST – InvestorIntel

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InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at info@investorintel.com

Watchlist Companies:
– Moovly Media Inc (MVY.V) CAD 0.23 (21.05%)n- Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.43 (4.94%)n- ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.11 (0.00%)n- GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.27 (0.00%)n- WOW! Unlimited Media Inc (WOW.V) CAD 0.57 (0.00%)n- Media Central Corp Inc (FLYY.CN) 0.02 (0.00%)n- Quizam Media Corp (QQ.CN) 0.37 (0.00%)n- Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc (TBRD.V) CAD 3.00 (0.00%)n- Wix.com Ltd (WIX) USD 244.50 (-0.86%)n- Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM) USD 370.74 (-0.97%)n- Slack Technologies Inc (WORK) USD 42.05 (-1.71%)n- Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 4.84 (-2.42%)n- MediaValet Inc (MVP.V) CAD 2.70 (-2.88%)n- Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.50 (-3.23%)n- Stingray Group Inc (RAY-A.TO) CAD 7.68 (-3.40%)n- Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 460.00 (-3.42%)n- HubSpot Inc (HUBS) USD 349.99 (-6.01%)n- Network Media Group Inc (NTE.V) CAD 0.16 (-6.06%)n- Lingo Media Corp (LM.V) CAD 0.08 (-6.25%)n- QYOU Media Inc (QYOU.V) CAD 0.22 (-8.51%)n

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Influencers In Toronto – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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Canada:

Influencers In Toronto

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Meet our professionals

As one of Toronto’s top business law firms, Gowling WLG is
comprised of a diverse and highly experienced team that provides
clients with insightful advice, valuable counsel and trusted
representation across a variety of key industries, including
energy, financial services, infrastructure, mining, manufacturing,
technology and life sciences.

In this series, you will meet a number of practitioners in our
Toronto office who have helped their clients overcome a variety of
complex legal obstacles. In addition, you will also have the chance
to hear more about how these professionals began their careers, the
challenges and opportunities they have experienced along the way,
and what insight they can bring during these unprecedented
times.

Each month, a professional in one of our key practice groups
will be interviewed by a colleague in a short video. We encourage
you to follow us on LinkedIn, where you will get to know our
Toronto team and learn about how they can help you succeed.

Get to know:

IP litigator and patent agent, Selena Kim
»

Sought-after trial advocacy instructor, Sandra
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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