The central question of our last class was “What should we do about fake news?” This ties into the core question of the course: “To regulate, or not to regulate?”
It seems that the Canadian approach, following Grant v. TorStar  allows for an “arguably more flexible and more sophisticated” approach, by allowing for the defense of responsible communication on matters of public interest to otherwise “fake” or defamatory statements. But this is essentially non-regulation, parties must resort to private law remedies to eventually, potentially be found to benefit from the defense or not. As Professor Festinger mentioned, the CRTC declined to regulate cyberspace proactively in 1994. As I mentioned in a previous post, some Canadian commentators are suggesting we take a more proactive, German-like regulatory role in social media platforms.
This is but one alternative.
China shows us another possibility. A society where citizens are governed by social media. Sound like an episode of Black Mirror? It’s not science fiction. As Professor Festinger mentioned, citizen’s social (media) conduct in China will have significant social and financial implications. Now with the facial recognition data collected on social media and other platforms, the Chinese government is seeking to create what essentially amounts to open air prisons where citizens mobility rights are severely restricted due to government surveillance implementing facial recognition.
Is this a better alternative? If so, why? If not, how can we draft laws to prevent us from going down a similar path?