Google is one of the first major tech companies to comment on Canada’s proposed approach to handle harmful online content.
In a Google Canada blog post, the internet giant said that there are aspects of the government’s proposal that “could be vulnerable to abuse and lead to over removal of legitimate content.”
Ottawa lays out proposal for digital safety watchdogs to crack down on hate online
The government first proposed in July 2021 a new Digital Safety Commission (DSC) with the power to regulate hateful online content from major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pornhub.
The government identified five categories of hateful content which the platforms would have to monitor within 24 hours of complaints: hate speech, child sexual exploitation content, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, incitement to violence and terrorist content.
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However, Google notes the proposed requirement for platforms to take down user-flagged content within 24 hours could be taken advantage of by others to harass or limit speech.
“It’s essential to strike the right balance between speed and accuracy,” the company wrote. “User flags are best utilized as ‘signals’ of potentially violative content, rather than definitive statements of violations.”