Government of Canada Announces Initiatives to Address Violent Extremist and Terrorist Content Online
June 26, 2019
Public Safety Canada
At the same time as the internet has helped to build a more open, connected world, it has also increasingly become a tool for terrorism and violent extremism. We must take coordinated action to prevent social media and other online platforms from being used as tools to incite, publish and promote terrorism, violence, and hatred. Canada has shown leadership, and joined governments and industry leaders from across the globe in adopting the Christchurch Call to Action, and is committed to meeting its goals.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced two new initiatives that will build on work already underway to address online extremist and terrorist content to help meet some of the Christchurch Call commitments.
Small technology companies are key partners in preventing the dissemination of violent extremist content, but often lack the capacity and financial resources to do so. The Government of Canada will commit up to $1 million to Tech Against Terrorism to create a digital repository that will notify smaller companies when new terrorist content is detected, which will support them in quickly removing it. This funding will help to achieve the commitment under the Christchurch Call to Action to support small platforms as they build capacity to remove terrorist and violent extremist content.
Canada will also empower young leaders to help shape the internet landscape by collaborating on a Youth Summit on Countering Violent Extremism Online. This event will bring young people together to learn about violent extremism and terrorism online, and develop effective tools to push back against this content and discourage its sharing. Representatives from technology companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, will help shape the event and collaborate directly with youth to develop ideas that can be shared broadly with their peers.
These initiatives will complement steps that the Government of Canada is already taking to address violent extremist and terrorist use of the internet, which is among the priorities under the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence that was announced in December 2018.
Through the Community Resilience Fund, which supports partnerships and innovation in countering radicalization to violence in Canada, projects are already underway to counter online extremism. Some of these projects include:
- $1.5 million to Moonshot CVE for their Canada Redirect project, which uses online advertising tools and Internet video channels to direct individuals to content created by credible third parties that challenge ideologies that can motivate destructive attitudes and behaviour.
- $107,146 to MediaSmarts for their project, Pushing Back Against Hate in Online Communities, to study how young Canadians respond to online hate speech.
- $366,985 to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to update its Environmental Scan of Right‐wing Extremism in Canada.
Earlier today, the Government of Canada published an update to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities that included, for the first time, two right-wing extremist groups with a presence in Canada: Blood & Honour, and Combat 18.
“The impacts of terrorist and extremist content online are increasingly reaching the real world, bringing with them abhorrent violence and carnage. Today, the Government of Canada has taken new steps to tackle hatred and violence online, and carry out our commitments made in the Christchurch Call to Action.”
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
On May 15, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, other government leaders, and industry leaders to adopt the Christchurch Call to Action – a global pledge to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.
Through the Christchurch Call, governments and online services providers are making voluntary, collective commitments to prevent people from abusing the internet to promote and sensationalize acts of terrorism. These commitments include:
- Building more inclusive, resilient communities to counter violent radicalization
- Enforcing laws that stop the production and dissemination of terrorist and extremist content online
- Encouraging media to apply ethical rules when reporting on terrorist events to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content
The Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence leads the Government of Canada’s efforts to counter radicalization to violence, and works with all levels of government, not-for-profit organizations, communities, youth, frontline practitioners, academia, law enforcement, and international organizations.
Canada continues to work with Five Eyes partners, through the Five Country Ministerial, and G7 countries to engage with digital industry, notably the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) led by Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft, to address issues related to violent extremist and terrorist use of the internet.
On May 16, 2019, Minister Goodale announced new and expanded eligible costs covered by the Security Infrastructure Program, which helps communities implement measures to protect against hate-motivated crimes. The existing list of physical infrastructure upgrades will now include security enhancements for doors, windows, intercoms and public address systems, as well as minor renovations to enhance security. Eligible organizations that have multiple locations may now apply for projects at each of their sites, rather than being limited to one project per year.
Manager of Media and Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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