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Rights of social media users upheld in Bill C-10: Department of Justice

Rights of social media users upheld in Bill C-10: Department of Justice
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OTTAWA -- The Department of Justice has concluded that recent amendments to Bill C-10 would not restrict the freedom of expression of social media users under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It comes as the Liberals face scrutiny for removing an exemption that protects individuals online content from its proposed Broadcasting Act changes that were aimed at ensuring major social media platforms and streaming services such as Netflix, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Spotify pay their fair share towards Canadian artists and are held to similar standards as regular broadcasters.

In the new analysis, the department found: The effect of the proposed removal of clause three is that an online undertaking that provides a social media service could be subject to regulation under the Act in respect of the programs uploaded by its unaffiliated users.

However, it states a separate clause exempting individuals from being regulated remains, which means unaffiliated users of social media services would not be subject to broadcasting regulation in respect of the programs they post.

The House of Commons heritage committee is studying the bill and has requested the presence of Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and Justice Minister David Lametti before MPs resume clause-by-clause. Guilbeault is slated to appear on Friday.

Earlier this week, Guilbeault walked back comments that under the bill, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) could impose discoverability regulations on individuals who have a large-enough following online.

In a new statement sent to CTV News late Sunday night, the minister said he used unclear language when he referred to people and online channels being subject to federal regulations as part of the governments updates to the Broadcasting Act.

What we want to do, this law should apply to people who are broadcasters, or act like broadcasters. So if you have a YouTube channel with millions of viewers, and you re deriving revenues from that, then at some point the CRTC will be asked to put a threshold. But we re talking about broadcasters here, we re not talking about everyday citizens posting stuff on their YouTube channel, Guilbeault said in the interview.
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