Media Beat: January 28, 2021
Ottawa to give police more powers to go after social media companies and the people who use them
Additional law enforcement powers and an independent appeal process could be part of a new regulatory regime aimed at social media companies that Ottawa is in the final stages of completing, according to Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault.
During an interview with the Star, Guilbeault also said that a new regulator will be set up to oversee the rules Ottawa is bringing in to curb the sharing of illegal content — including hate-speech, child pornography and non-consensual intimate images — on platforms like those owned by Facebook and Google. – Kieran Leavitt, The Star
RCMP arrest Quebec man linked to inciteful social media accounts
A Quebec man linked to social media accounts that spoke of taking weapons to Parliament to “clean up house” has been charged after RCMP officers raided his homes and allegedly found 18 firearms.
Court documents obtained by Global News allege the firearms included Thompson and Lanchester submachine guns, silencers and brass knuckles.
Quebec news outlets tied him to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of a man by the same name who is a supporter of the People’s Party of Canada and Donald Trump. – Stewart Bell, Global News
Defamation claim against Twitter green-lit in BC
In Giustra v Twitter, Inc., 2021 BCSC 54 (CanLII), the plaintiff commenced a lawsuit in British Columbia against Twitter claiming damages and an injunction for defamatory tweets authored by others. Some of the tweets described the plaintiff’s alleged relationship with Bill Clinton, his alleged involvement in “pizzagate,” and other personal attacks accusing him of being in a pedophile ring. The tweets strayed far beyond political commentary.
The tweets were read in Canada and the United States and elsewhere given Twitter’s international reach. Twitter argued that California, where it was based, was a more convenient forum for the lawsuit (the doctrine of forum conveniens). The plaintiff wanted the action to proceed in British Columbia. – James R.G. Cook, Gardiner Roberts
Subway can press $210M defamation suit against CBC
A defamation lawsuit by the world’s largest fast-food operator against Canada’s public broadcaster over a report on the chain’s chicken sandwiches can proceed, Ontario’s top court has ruled.
In setting aside a ruling that dismissed Subway’s $210-million suit without a hearing on its merits, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the untested claim was far from frivolous and deserved a thorough airing. – Colin Perkel, Global News
New report finds 1.3M new users joined social media every day during 2020
Hootsuite, the global leader in social media management, and We Are Social, the socially led creative agency, have released Digital 2021, their latest annual report presenting the most salient global findings on social media and digital trends.
With much of the world spending a significant amount of 2020 in lockdown, Digital 2021 shows that social media users have grown at the fastest rate in three years. There are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world, representing year-on-year growth of more than 13 percent (490 million new users). The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53 percent of the world’s total population.
Perhaps surprisingly, people say they are spending the same amount of time on social media each day as they did the previous year, at 2 hours and 25 minutes. Facebook remains the world’s most used social platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. Facebook-owned apps account for 4 of the top 5 most used social platforms globally.
Social media 'influencer' charged with spreading 2016 election disinformation
The arrest marks a rare instance of an individual facing criminal charges over a disinformation campaign carried out on prominent social media platforms. – Christiano Lima, Politico
Giuliani sued for $1.3B by Dominion Voting systems over false election fraud claims
Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, following months of baseless claims from Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that the company’s systems were rigged in favour of the Democrats in 3 November’s presidential election.
The 107-page lawsuit, which was filed by the company in the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, on Monday, accused Mr Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” that was made up of “demonstrably false” allegations, according to The New York Times.
The suit is seeking damages of more than $1.3bn (£1.15bn) and is based on more than 50 statements made by Mr Giuliani on Twitter, his podcast and in the media. – James Crump, The Independent
Russia’s Putin queries growing clout of U.S. social media giants
Addressing a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Putin cited the behaviour of U.S. social media giants in recent events in U.S. politics and questioned whether what he called their monopoly position coincided with society’s interests. – Reuters
Walmart’s plan to employ robots in its stores
Walmart plans to build automated mini-warehouses in dozens of its stores to speed up customers' online delivery and curbside pickup orders in a race against Amazon.
Walmart announced Wednesday that it will add dozens of 20,000 square-foot to 30,000 square-foot automated fulfillment centers in the coming years, either in the backrooms of its stores or next to them.
In the centers, robots will gather thousands of pantry items and frozen foods instead of employees, which Walmart says speeds up the process. The items will then be brought to an area where Walmart workers can assemble them into orders for pickup or delivery. – Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN