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NDP calls for independent social media regulator as scrutiny of Facebook heats up

VIDEO: MP says says Facebook seems to ‘drive extremist content and undermine democracy’

New Democrats are demanding the federal government crack down on social media giants following recent revelations by a Facebook executive.

At a news conference in Ottawa this morning, NDP MP Charlie Angus called on Ottawa to establish an independent regulator to address disinformation, hateful posts and algorithm transparency at digital platforms.

Angus says Facebook seems to be using algorithms and artificial intelligence to “drive extremist content and undermine democracy,” as the company confronts intense public scrutiny over how its coding fans inflammatory rhetoric and affects users’ self-esteem.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a United States Senate committee earlier this month that the company’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S., a claim supported by internal company research leaked to the Wall Street Journal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged in last month’s federal election to introduce legislation within 100 days that combats online hate speech and content that incites violence, following the failure of a Liberal bill aiming to regulate Facebook and other platforms.

Angus claimed that the legislation, which died in the Senate after the election was triggered in August, amounted to a “political dumpster fire” and that having Canada’s telecommunications regulator address Facebook algorithms would bring “a 1980s solution to a 21st century problem.”

—The Canadian Press

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