Login

Register

Login

Register

Half of Canadians believe social media has hurt open debate: Poll | #socialmedia | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker


The data also show that many Canadians are concerned about the future of free speech, with 40 per cent saying they suspect it will be harder to speak freely on controversial topics

Article content

OTTAWA – Half of all Canadians believe that social media has hurt open debate in the country, according to a new poll that reveals a stark generational and partisan divide on free speech.

Advertisement

Article content

The new Postmedia-Leger poll surveying Canadians on the state of free speech as the country gears up for an expected federal election found a large majority think that social media companies should be forced to monitor and remove content they consider hateful.

If anything, the poll — which surveyed 1,519 Canadians online between July 23 and 25 — shows that respondents hold divided (if not sometimes contradictory) views on the state of free speech in Canada and what should be done to address it.

For example, nearly half of all respondents (45 per cent) say that speech is more restrictive today that it was between five and 10 years ago. But a nearly equal part (38 per cent) believes the opposite, arguing that speech is even freer now than it was within the past decade.

Advertisement

Article content

The data also show that many Canadians are concerned about the future of free speech in the country, with 40 per cent saying they suspect it will be harder to speak freely on controversial topics within the next decade.

“There’s a feeling amongst Canadians that … something’s being restricted a bit. Or that maybe sometimes the discussion can be a little bit one-sided,” says Andrew Enns, executive vice-president at Leger. “And if you put your hand up to offer a position on the other side, you can get into trouble.”

But when asked if any of a list of eight potentially controversial topics — such as abortion, Indigenous issues and reconciliation, racism or COVID-19 lockdown rules — was completely off the table for discussion in Canada, almost all respondents said no.

Advertisement

Article content

“None of these stood out as a real, ‘we can’t talk about it.’ People feel like it’s still reasonably tolerated to debate,” Enns said. “Many Canadians have this feeling that something’s not quite right when it comes to the open and free debate of controversial topics. But they’re not exactly sure where that’s happened.”

But free speech is “one of those hallmarks of what makes us kind of proud to be Canadian. And these findings didn’t strike me as a resounding affirmation of that,” Enns added.

Enns was surprised to see that no less than 50 per cent of Canadians believe that social media — meant to be a platform for the exchange of ideas and discussions — has in fact hurt open debate, not encouraged it.

Advertisement

Article content

Most Canadians now believe more regulation and policing is necessary when it comes to addressing online hate speech.

The poll shows that 69 per cent of Canadians believe social media companies should be forced to identify and remove hateful content, and 46 per cent of respondents say the federal government should have the power to determine what is hate speech and regulate it. The Liberal government proposed a series of controversial bills in the spring aiming to regulate programming distributed by media streaming services and social platforms online.

But a deeper dive into the poll results shows significant divides both along generational lines as well as the political spectrum.

For example, Canadians aged 35 years and older are both more likely to say that free speech is more restricted now than decade ago (49 per cent) and that social media has hurt open debate (55 per cent).

Advertisement

Article content

On the other hand, barely over one third of Canadians under 35 would agree to both those points.

Conservative party supporters are also much more pessimistic about the current state and future of free speech in Canada, according to poll data.

More than half of them believe that it will be harder to speak freely on controversial topics in five to 10 years from now, compared to 33 per cent for Liberal supporters and 30 per cent for New Democrats.

Six out of 10 Conservatives also believe that free speech is more restricted now compared to one decade ago. That’s significantly higher than the polling average of 45 per cent.

According to Enns, there are two major factors behind Conservative supporters’ results: the fact that they are generally slightly older voters, and the party’s aggressive messaging over the spring claiming the Liberals were attacking free speech with their bills regulating online content.

“I think that revved up some of the engines with respect to freedom of speech and the implications of this government’s legislation,” Enns said.

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



Original Source link

Leave a Reply

Shqip Shqip አማርኛ አማርኛ العربية العربية English English Français Français Deutsch Deutsch Português Português Русский Русский Español Español

National Cyber Security Consulting App

 https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1521390354

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nationalcybersecuritycom.wpapp


Ads

NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO

Ads

ALEXA “OPEN NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO”

National Cyber Security Radio (Podcast) is now available for Alexa.  If you don't have an Alexa device, you can download the Alexa App for free for Google and Apple devices.   

nationalcybersecurity.com

FREE
VIEW