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Canada moves to regulate social media — but focus is on platforms NOT users

Canada moves to regulate social media — but focus is on platforms NOT users
December 15
20:10 2019
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Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has appointed Steven Guilbeault as the country’s minister of heritage to create new regulations for social media.

Guilbeault, whose appointment was disclosed in a mandate letter dated December 13, was asked to create new laws that would curb online harm including hate speech.

However, unlike that of Nigeria which targets social media users, the letter stated that the laws would require platforms to remove potentially harmful contents or face sanctions.

It quoted Trudeau as listing as the official’s mandates: “Create 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 penalties.

“This should include other online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda.”

…COMPARING THE SOCIAL MEDIA LEGISLATION WITH NIGERIA’S

Like Canada, Nigeria through the senate recently began a move to regulate the use of social media through a bill that has since passed for second reading.

The bill tagged, ‘Protection From Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation and Other Related Matters Bill’, has been widely criticised with many Nigerians saying it is an infringement on their constitutional rights.

Unlike that of Canada, the intended legislation targets Nigerian citizens with specific provisions such as is seen in part 2 section 3, which reads: “(1) A person must not do any act in or outside Nigeria in order to transmit in Nigeria a statement knowing or having reason to believe that — (a) it is a false statement of fact; and (b) the communication of the statement in Nigeria is likely to — (i) be prejudicial to the security of Nigeria or any part of Nigeria….”

The social media regulation bill also proposes “a fine not exceeding N300, 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both”.

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