Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says online platforms like Google and YouTube might resort to changing algorithms to comply with federal regulations proposed in Bill C-11.
At a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, Rodriguez said discoverability is key “so we can see our music, our films, our content.” He said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) wouldn’t mandate specific algorithms, but it will demand more Canadian content from social media platforms.
“It’s up to the platforms to decide how they do that,” he said. “They may decide that they touch their algorithms but that would be their own decision, they could have playlists, they could have filters…they can advertise (Canadian content).
The Conservative Party has warned that the bill will result in censorship, in which government gatekeepers can control which videos, posts and other content Canadians can see online.
Rodriguez’s statement is an indirect admission that platforms must manipulate their content to appease the government.
Under Bill C-11, search engines like Google will be required to boost news organizations that promote “racialized communities, cultural and linguistic minorities, LGBTQ2+ communities, and persons with disabilities.”
Consequently, non-compliant news publishers would receive lower rankings in searches.
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer of YouTube, said the bill has the potential to disadvantage Canadian creators who build their businesses on the platform and change the personalized experience of millions of Canadians who visit YouTube.
Additionally, Twitter representatives compared the Liberals to communists over their desire to implement mass censorship via Bill C-11.
“The proposal by the government of Canada to allow the Digital Safety Commissioner to block websites is drastic,” they wrote.
“People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter and other services in a similar manner as the one proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (China, North Korea, and Iran, for example) under the false guise of ‘online safety’ impeding peoples’ rights to access information online.”