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On Tuesday, GlobalNews released an article titled “More than 60% of web users support governments censoring fake news: Ipsos poll.” The article headline is completely misleading.
The article uses global data and titles it as a representation of Canadian views. It’s actually far from an accurate representation of Canadian views.
According to Global News, 61% of internet users globally support having governments censor fake news, according to a new Ipsos poll. Furthermore, approximately 85% said they support social media sites removing fake posts and accounts. The key word is “globally.”
Now if we look at the data for Canada, we see a completely different picture altogether.
In the same report, approximately 54% of Canadians oppose any government attempt to censor online content as a means of restricting “fake news.”
Barely 10% of Canadians believe that it should be the government who should have the authority to decide what is and isn’t “Fake News.”
The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points. Therefore, it is safe to say this poll is a good indicator of where Canadians lie on their beliefs.
The survey comes as governments around the world try to battle the scourge of fake news. In Canada, the concerns are focused primarily around the influence of fake news in the upcoming October election.
90% of Canadians say they have been scammed by fake news. “Having a conversation about it is really important so that we’re talking about if people are checking their sources,” said Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould.
Justin Trudeau’s government previously passed legislation that it argues will crack down on “malicious” internet users, and require political parties to put privacy policies in place. However, according to this poll, Canadians are doubtful that the government should be the one deciding this.
Censorship is a very touchy subject, and can lead to a slippery slope of authoritarianism. Fake news is a phrase thrown around at almost anything one disagrees with now. It has the potential to censor opposing viewpoints, even if those viewpoints contain facts that people in authority may disagree with.
Canadians are vehemently opposed to online censorship, especially if it is mandated by the government. Canadians support the values of liberty, freedom of expression, and freedom of speech, and any attempt to curb those values is inherently un-Canadian.
What do you think about online censorship? Should the government be the one regulating online content? Let us know in the comments below.