Briefing

Ottawa’s system for informing the public about election interference could include social media takedowns

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Five senior civil servants will review information about interference attempts during the election campaign, and if they agree an incident is serious enough, will let party leaders and the public know. Senior government officials told reporters on Tuesday that the panel could look at incidents like viral deepfake videos and foreign actors’ attempts to spread written disinformation. If they decide there’s a threat, officials said the government could call on social media companies to label it as false or remove it. The panel has been receiving intelligence briefings from the security agencies, and has conducted training exercises. The system is separate from Elections Canada, which will oversee the voting itself. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The officials did not provide reporters with examples of the simulations they’ve run panel members through. But they cited WikiLeaks’ release of more than 20,000 emails from Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign during France’s 2017 election as the type of incident the panel would consider. Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies have signed a government-initiated declaration on electoral integrity committing to remove fake accounts and “inauthentic content” from their platforms and prevent misrepresentation of candidates and parties. But the document contains no metrics to measure whether they’re complying, or enforcement mechanisms if they don’t.