Transcript: Facebook and Protecting the Federal Election | Apr 30, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Facebook and protecting the federal election. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says AS QUESTIONS CONTINUE
TO SWIRL ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND
THE ROLE OF FOREIGN INTERFERENCE
IN THE LAST AMERICAN
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, CANADIANS
MAY BE WONDERING ABOUT OUR OWN
UPCOMING ELECTION.
WITH UPWARDS OF 20 MILLION USERS
HERE, FACEBOOK CANADA IS A
PREMIER PLATFORM FOR NEWS AND
INFORMATION SHARING.
IS IT READY FOR WHAT MIGHT COME,
LEADING UP TO THE OCTOBER VOTE?
KEVIN CHAN IS HEAD OF PUBLIC
POLICY WITH FACEBOOK CANADA, AND
HE JOINS US NOW FOR MORE ON THAT.

Kevin is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He's wearing round black-framed glasses, a black suit and a striped blue shirt.

Steve continues THANKS FOR COMING IN.

Kevin says THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says LET'S START WITH THE
PREPARATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING
VOTE, WHICH IS LESS THAN SIX
MONTHS AWAY.
THIS COMMUNICATION SECURITY
ESTABLISHMENT SAYS IT IS VERY
LIKELY THAT WE WILL EXPERIENCE
FOREIGN CYBERINTERFERENCE IN THE
NEXT ELECTION.
THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FOR CANADA SAYS FOREIGN ACTORS
WILL LIKELY TRY TO MEDDLE.
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU THAT
THEY'RE RIGHT?

The caption changes to "Kevin Chan. Facebook Canada."
Then, it changes again to "Ready, willing and able to interfere."

Kevin says WELL, I THINK WE'RE ALWAYS
VIGILANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO
THE RIGHT THING, TO ENSURE THAT
WE HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF WHAT'S
HAPPENING ON THE PLATFORM AND
THAT WE'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR
ABUSES.
IF I MAY, I THINK WHEN YOU GO
BACK TO THE CSC REPORT, THE
COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY
ESTABLISHMENT REPORT, I THINK
WHAT WAS VERY POSITIVE ABOUT IT,
ACTUALLY, THE MOST RECENT ONE,
WAS THEY ACTUALLY SAID THAT THEY
DIDN'T THINK THAT THERE WAS
GOING TO BE A SIGNIFICANT
DISRUPTIVE EVENT LIKE WE SAW IN
THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
IN 2016 HAPPENING THIS OCTOBER.
AND I THINK THAT'S ACTUALLY A
VERY POSITIVE THING TO BE ABLE
TO SAY NOW.

Steve says WELL, WE'RE ALSO NOT
AS IMPORTANT AS THEY ARE, SO
THAT MIGHT HAVE SOME EXPLANATION
BEHIND IT AS WELL.

Kevin says WELL, I MEAN, I THINK THE
IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW IS THAT,
YOU KNOW, THESE ARE SECURITY
ISSUES, RIGHT, AND SO OF COURSE
WE WANT TO BE SURE THAT WE ARE
DOING ALL THAT WE CAN TO MANAGE
THE SECURITY RISKS.
I THINK THEY ARE RIGHT TO BE
VIGILANT.
WE CERTAINLY ARE VIGILANT.

Steve says CAN I PUSH BACK ON THAT?
THE MINISTER OF DEMOCRATIC
INSTITUTIONS SAYS THERE'S A LOT
LEFT TO BE DESIRED IN TERMS OF
HOW SERIOUSLY FACEBOOK ARE
TAKING THESE ISSUES.
DO YOU WANT TO RESPOND TO HER?

Kevin says YEAH, LOOK, THE REALITY IS WE
HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT
IN PEOPLE AND IN TECHNOLOGY AND
IN PARTNERSHIPS.
PEOPLE, WE'VE GROWN... IN THE
LAST TWO YEARS WE'VE GROWN OUR
SECURITY TEAM FROM 10,000 TO
30,000 PEOPLE.

Steve says WORLDWIDE.

Kevin says WORLDWIDE.
WE HAVE NOW... SINCE THE ONTARIO
PROVINCIAL ELECTION, WHICH WOULD
HAVE BEEN ABOUT A YEAR AGO.

Steve says ALMOST.

Kevin says WE'VE HAD A CROSS-FUNCTIONAL
TEAM DEDICATED JUST TO ELECTIONS
IN CANADA, THE FEDERAL
ELECTION... OBVIOUSLY FOR
OCTOBER.
BUT ALSO FOR ALL THE PROVINCIAL
ELECTIONS, INCLUDING THE CURRENT
ONE HAPPENING IN NEWFOUNDLAND
AND LABRADOR.
ON THE TECHNOLOGY SIDE, WE'VE
INVESTED SIGNIFICANTLY IN
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
TECHNOLOGIES THAT ACTUALLY
DIDN'T EXIST EVEN THREE OR FOUR
YEARS AGO TO PROACTIVELY FIND
FAKE ACCOUNTS AND DISABLE THESE
EN MASSE.
AND WE HAVE SIGNIFICANT
PARTNERSHIPS WITH ORGANIZATIONS,
LIKE... LIKE EQUAL VOICE TO DO
THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO TO MAKE
SURE THAT WE DO ENSURE THAT
THERE ARE NO BAD ACTORS THAT ARE
TRYING TO ORCHESTRATE ABUSES ON
THE PLATFORM.

Steve says WE WILL FOLLOW UP ON
THAT BECAUSE I'M INTERESTED IN
ALL OF THOSE THINGS.
HOWEVER, THE MINISTER GOES ON TO
SAY THAT YOUR COMPANY HAS BEEN
GIVING THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
SIGNIFICANTLY LESS INFORMATION
ABOUT PREVENTING INTERFERENCE
THAN FACEBOOK HAS GIVEN, FOR
EXAMPLE, EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS.
IS THAT THE CASE?

Kevin says I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
STRESS THAT WHAT WE DO WITH...
WHAT WE BRIEF GOVERNMENTS ON IS
WHEN WE FIND THAT THERE ARE, IN
FACT, WHAT WE CALL COORDINATED
INAUTHENTIC BEHAVIOUR ON THE
PLATFORM.

Steve says I'M NOT HEARING A
DENIAL, THOUGH.

Kevin says WELL, BECAUSE THE THINGS WE
HAVEN'T SEEN THAT KIND OF
COORDINATED INAUTHENTIC
BEHAVIOUR IN CANADA.
WE HAVE DONE VARIOUS TAKEDOWNS,
AND I THINK YOU HAVE TAKEN A
LOOK AT SOME OF THESE, WHERE WE
TELL THE PUBLIC AND PUBLIC
AUTHORITIES WHEN WE ARE AWARE OF
AN ORCHESTRATED ATTEMPT TO
PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING THAT
THEY'RE NOT, AND WE TAKE THESE
DOWN.
AND WE'VE DONE THESE IN THE U.S.
WE'VE DONE THESE IN THE U.K.
WE'VE DONE THESE IN THE MIDDLE
EAST.
EVERY TIME THAT WE'VE HAD ONE OF
THESE COORDINATED INAUTHENTIC
BEHAVIOUR TAKEDOWNS, THERE HAS
BEEN NO LINKAGES OR NETWORKS
INTO CANADA.
WE WILL OBVIOUSLY REMOVE CONTENT
THAT IS INAUTHENTIC OR FAKE
ACCOUNTS, AND I THINK THAT'S AN
ONGOING EFFORT.
I THINK WHAT WE'RE TALK ABOUT
TODAY IS MORE ARE PEOPLE OUT
THERE, BAD ACTORS, OUT THERE
TRYING TO DECEIVE PEOPLE,
COORDINATE AND TRY TO SEW
DIVISION OR ABUSE THE PLATFORM
IN SOME WAY.
AND THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOUR, WE
JUST HAVE NOT SEEN THAT IN
CANADA.

The caption changes to "The bad actors."

Steve says SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT
DOESN'T EXIST?

Kevin says I THINK WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS
WE HAVEN'T SEEN IT.

Steve says IF YOU'RE BEING
VIGILANT FOR THIS BEHAVIOUR, WHO
ARE THE PEOPLE AND-OR GROUPS
THAT YOU ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Kevin says IT COULD BE ACTUALLY REALLY
ANY THING.
SO ACTUALLY WHAT WE'RE LOOKING
AT IS NOT SPECIFICALLY
INDIVIDUALS.
WE'RE ACTUALLY LOOKING AT
BEHAVIOUR.
WHAT WE WANT TO KNOW IS TO SAY,
WELL, IF WE FIND EVIDENCE THAT
SOMEBODY OR SOME PAGE OR SOME
GROUP OR SOME INDIVIDUAL ON
FACEBOOK IS ACTUALLY DOING
THINGS THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY
COORDINATING WITH OTHERS AND
PRETENDING TO BE SOMETHING THAT
WE'RE NOT, WE WILL REMOVE THEM
FROM THE PLATFORM.

Steve says CAN YOU GIVE AN
EXAMPLE OF THAT SO WE GET A
BETTER SENSE OF WHAT YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT?

Kevin says SURE, SO IN THE VANCOUVER
MUNICIPAL ELECTION THAT HAPPENED
I THINK LAST FALL, THERE WAS
SOME PUBLICITY ON THIS, OR THERE
WAS SOME MEDIA COVERAGE, WHERE
WE ACTUALLY TOOK DOWN TWO FAKE
ACCOUNTS THAT WERE, AGAIN, KIND
OF POSTING THINGS INTO GROUPS OR
MAKING CERTAIN CLAIMS, AND IT
TURNS OUT THAT THESE ACCOUNTS
DIDN'T MAP BACK TO REAL PEOPLE.
AND WE HAVE A VERY STRONG
AUTHENTIC IDENTITY POLICY ON
FACEBOOK.
YOU NEED TO BE WHO YOU SAY YOU
ARE ON FACEBOOK.

Steve says UNLIKE TWITTER, WHEN
YOU CAN BE ANYBODY OR NOBODY AND
GET AWAY WITH LOTS.

Kevin says WELL, I THINK THE INTERNET
HAS RAISED THIS ISSUE ABOUT
ANONYMITY ON-LINE.
I THINK THAT'S KIND OF A FACET
OF THE INTERNET THAT'S EXISTED
SINCE THE INTERNET'S EXISTED.
BUT FACEBOOK IS A BIT DIFFERENT
ON THAT, RIGHT?
YOU ACTUALLY... THE CULTURE OF
IT SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING IS
YOU NEED TO BE A REAL PERSON.
AND SO IF WE HAVE INDICATIONS
THAT YOU'RE NOT, THAT'S A
VIOLATION OF OUR COMMUNITY
STANDARDS.
AND WE WILL TAKE ACTION.
SO THOSE ARE THE KIND OF ONE-OFF
OR INDIVIDUAL THINGS WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT.
I THINK WHAT PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
WANT TO KNOW IS DO WE SEE
SOMETHING BROADER?
DO WE SEE A COORDINATED,
STRATEGIC ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE
SOME KIND OF OUTCOME?
AND CERTAINLY IT WOULD BE THE
CASE THAT IF WE DID SEE
SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN CANADA,
OR IF WE MADE A MOVEMENT TO TAKE
SOMETHING DOWN IN SOME OTHER
PART OF THE WORLD, AND THERE
WERE LINKAGES TO CANADA, YOU CAN
BE ASSURED AND CERTAINLY PUBLIC
AUTHORITIES SHOULD BE ASSURED
THAT WE WOULD CERTAINLY NOT ONLY
PUBLICIZE THIS BUT WE WOULD
BRIEF PUBLIC LAW AUTHORITIES AND
WE WOULD BRIEF THE GOVERNMENT.

Steve says THOSE SIX MONTHS
BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION SO FAR
YOU'RE HERE TONIGHT TELLING US
YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THAT?

Kevin says THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says OKAY.
CAN YOU TELL US WHY YOU THINK
THESE SO-CALLED BAD ACTORS WOULD
WANT TO TARGET CANADA?
WHAT'S THE MOTIVE?

Kevin says SO WE DON'T REALLY KNOW THE
MOTIVATION, AND BECAUSE WE'RE A
PLATFORM AND WE'RE KIND OF OUT
JUST TO SORT OF BE ABLE TO MAKE
THAT DISTINCTION BETWEEN
INAUTHENTICITY AND SORT OF REAL
PEOPLE, IT'S VERY HARD FOR US TO
UNDERSTAND MOTIVATION, AND WE
TEND TO LEAVE THAT TO OTHERS
THAT ARE BETTER EQUIPPED TO DO
THAT.

Steve says ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE
READ ABOUT THE LAST AMERICAN
ELECTION IS THAT THEY CLEARLY...
MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE
INAUTHENTICALLY TRYING TO
INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME WERE
CLEARLY FOR TRUMP.
BUT THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO ARE
NOT ACTUALLY FOR ANY PARTICULAR
CANDIDATE OVER ANOTHER.
THEY JUST WANT TO DISRUPT AND
CREATE A LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN
DEMOCRACY IN GENERAL.
SO DO YOU HAVE A BETTER SENSE
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THOSE WHO
MIGHT WANT TO BE BAD ACTORS IN
THIS ELECTION ARE AIMING AT A
PARTICULAR OUTCOME OR ARE THEY
JUST TRYING TO MAKE TROUBLE?

Kevin says WELL, I MEAN, BAD ACTORS ARE
BAD ACTORS.
WE DO THINK ABOUT IT GENERALLY
IN TWO BROAD CATEGORIES.
ONE IS ECONOMICALLY MOTIVATED
PEOPLE.
SO PEOPLE ARE JUST GOING TO PUT
ALL SORTS OF STUFF ON-LINE AND
SEE IF THEY CAN DRIVE TRAFFIC TO
THEIR SITE TO MONETIZE.
WE DO THINK THERE'S SOME...
ECONOMICALLY MOTIVATED.
AND THEN THERE'S THE SECOND
PIECE, WHICH IS THE STRATEGIC
MOTIVATION.
AND AS TO THE WHY OR WHAT
ADVANTAGE, I JUST DON'T THINK
WE'RE WELL PLACED TO MAKE THAT
KIND OF CALL, BUT I CAN TELL YOU
THAT WE DO TEND TO THINK ABOUT
IT IN TWO BUCKETS, RIGHT?
THE ONES MOTIVATED FINANCIALLY
AND THE ONES WHO HAVE SOME KIND
OF DIFFERENT STRATEGIC
GEOPOLITICAL MOTIVE IN MIND.

Steve says I DON'T WANT TO
EXAGGERATE IT IF IT OUGHT NOT TO
BE EXAGGERATED, BUT POLITICAL
LEADERS IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE
MADE A LOT OF HAY ABOUT IT AND
EXPRESSED A LOT OF CONCERN ABOUT
IT, SO I WONDER IF YOU'D WEIGH
IN ON HOW MUCH, I DON'T KNOW,
DANGER, HOW MUCH DANGER YOU
THINK THE ELECTORATE IS IN IF,
YOU KNOW, THEIR EYEBROWS ARE NOT
UP, NOT PAYING ATTENTION?

The caption changes to "Combatting the problem."

Kevin says I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT
TO ALWAYS BE VIGILANT, AND IT'S
THE SAME FOR US.
IT'S THE SAME FOR I THINK PUBLIC
AUTHORITIES.
IT'S THE SAME FOR CANADIANS.
WHEN YOU SEE THINGS ON-LINE...
IN FACT, A KEY TENET OF DIGITAL
LITERACY IS TO ACTUALLY THINK
BEFORE YOU TAKE ACTION.
THINK BEFORE YOU SHARE.
WE HAVE A PARTNERSHIP WITH MEDIA
SMART, WHICH IS CANADA'S DIGITAL
LITERACY ORGANIZATION, AND ONE
OF THE KEY THINGS THAT WE'RE
KIND OF TALKING ABOUT AND
PUTTING OUT IN TERMS OF LEARNING
GUIDES AND PUBLIC SERVICE
ANNOUNCEMENTS IS, IN FACT, THIS
IDEA THAT IF YOU SEE SOME
CONTENT THAT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO
BE TRUE OR THAT'S KIND OF
EVOKING SOME KIND OF EMOTIONAL
RESPONSE, THAT'S KIND OF THE
MOMENT WHEN YOU SHOULD BE
THINKING THROUGH, YOU KNOW, ARE
THERE THINGS HERE THAT I SHOULD
BE ASKING MYSELF.
SHOULD I MAYBE SEARCH FOR THIS
TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT IT'S A
HOAX, WHETHER OR NOT OTHER
PEOPLE HAVE DONE SOME
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ON IT.

Steve says LIKE POPE ENDORSES
DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.
THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD ONE
TO PERHAPS BE VIGILANT ABOUT.

Kevin says PERHAPS.

Steve says HERE'S ONE HERE.
SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS UP.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A FACEBOOK POST.

A screenshot pops up on screen. It shows an ad for a Facebook group containing a picture of two men hugging seen from behinds and a caption that reads "One in ten gay Christians bullied by other LGBT people because of their faith. Premier."

Steve continues THIS IS A GROUP IN THE U.K. THAT
IS TRYING BASICALLY TO SEW
DISCONTENT AND SPREAD
DISINFORMATION, AND YOU KNOW,
THIS IS... HERE'S THE HEADLINE
HERE.
ONE IN TEN GAY CHRISTIANS
BULLIED BY OTHER LGTB PEOPLE
BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH.
AND IT QUOTES A... YOU KNOW, A
WEBSITE CALLED PREMIER,
PREMIER.ORG, WHICH IS NOTHING.
WHAT... THIS IS FAKE.
THIS IS FAKE.
IT'S DESIGNED TO SPREAD
DISINFORMATION.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME TIPS FOR
SPOTTING... I MEAN, THIS IS... I
KNOW TRUMP TALKS ABOUT FAKE NEWS.
THIS REALLY IS FAKE NEWS.

Kevin says SO THIS IS INTERESTING.
SO I THINK... IF I UNDERSTAND
CORRECTLY, THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN
ONE OF THE EXAMPLES, ACTUALLY,
OF OUR COORDINATED INAUTHENTIC
BEHAVIOUR TAKEDOWNS.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE THAT WE GAVE
OF A BATCH OF THINGS, OF A
NETWORK THAT WE TOOK DOWN.
THE CHALLENGE WITH THIS,
ACTUALLY, IS INTERESTING
BECAUSE, AGAIN, IT COMES DOWN TO
THIS QUESTION OF WE'RE NOT GOING
TO FOCUS ON CONTENT.
BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT THE
CONTENT, IT'S ACTUALLY... IT'S
NOT SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE
ILLEGITIMATE IN THE SENSE THAT
YOU WOULDN'T TAKE THIS DOWN.
IT'S NOT A VIOLATION OF OUR
COMMUNITY STANDARDS.
SO RATHER THAN LOOK AT THE
CONTENT, WHAT WE FOCUS ON IS
BEHAVIOUR.
AND THE REASON WHY WE KNOW THAT
THIS IS ACTUALLY INAUTHENTIC OR
FAKE IS BECAUSE WHEN WE STARTED
DIGGING INTO ACCOUNTS ASSOCIATED
WITH THESE KINDS OF POSTS, WE
REALIZED THAT THEY WERE ALL
CONNECTED IN SOME WAY IN THE
BACKGROUND.
WE KNEW THAT THEY WERE ACTUALLY
ALL COORDINATING WITH EACH
OTHER, POSTING AND SHARING VERY
SIMILAR THINGS.
AND THAT THEY DIDN'T MAP BACK TO
REAL PEOPLE.

Steve says HMM.

Kevin says AND SO ONCE WE HAVE DONE OUR
INVESTIGATIVE WORK AND WE KNOW
THIS, WE CAN TAKE THEM DOWN.
AND WE PUBLICIZE, AND THAT'S
PRECISELY WHY YOU HAVE THAT
EXAMPLE NOW.

Steve says YOU HAVE APPARENTLY
TAKEN DOWN 1.5 BILLION FAKE
ACCOUNTS IN JUST THE SECOND AND
THIRD QUARTERS OF 2018.

Kevin says THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says THAT IS A LOT OF
TAKING DOWN, KEVIN.

Kevin says THAT IS A LOT, AND IN MANY
CASES, I CAN TELL YOU, IN MANY
CASES THEY WERE TAKEN DOWN
WITHIN SECONDS OF REGISTRATION.
AND THAT, AGAIN, IS OUR
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SYSTEMS
BEING ABLE TO PROACTIVELY
IDENTIFY FAKE ACCOUNTS BEING SET
UP THE MOMENT THEY'RE BEING SET
UP.

Steve says THERE'S A WELL-KNOWN
NEWS ORGANIZATION IN THIS WORLD
CALLED AFP, WHAT ROLE DO THEY
HAVE WITH FACEBOOK?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Kevin says SO AFP IS A NEWS WIRE, AS
YOU KNOW, AND THEY ARE OUR
PARTNERS IN CANADA FOR
THIRD-PARTY FACT CHECKING.
AND SO THIS IS ANOTHER WAY IN
WHICH WE'RE TRYING TO GET AT
THIS CHALLENGE OF MISINFORMATION
ON-LINE.
IF AN INDIVIDUAL ON FACEBOOK
REPORTS A STORY OR A PUBLISHED
ARTICLE OR AN IMAGE OR A VIDEO
ON FACEBOOK AS BEING POTENTIALLY
INAUTHENTIC OR FAKE, THEN AFP AS
OUR PARTNER WILL BE IN RECEIPT
OF THIS, AND THEY CAN GO IN AND
DO WHAT JOURNALISTS DO BEST,
WHICH IS TO GET AT THE TRUTH, TO
GET AT THE STORY.
THEY WILL THEN BE ABLE TO WRITE
A STORY THAT FIGHTS THE FACTS,
THAT DEBUNKS THIS ARTICLE.
AND ONCE THEY HAVE COMPLETED
THAT WORK, WE'RE GOING TO
NOTIFY... WHAT WE DO IS WE
NOTIFY EVERYBODY WHO'S EVER SEEN
THAT STORY THAT IT'S ACTUALLY
BEEN FACT CHECKED.
WE WILL MASSIVELY REDUCE THE
DISTRIBUTION OF THAT STORY, ON
AVERAGE ABOUT 80 percent, AND THE AFP
ARTICLE WILL NOW APPEAR ADJACENT
TO THAT FAKE OR INAUTHENTIC
ARTICLE, IF YOU WILL, ANYWHERE
ON THE PLATFORM.

Steve says OKAY.
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHO BELIEVE
THAT YOU ARE PART OF THE DEEP
STATE.
THEY THINK THAT WE ARE PART OF
THE DEEP STATE.
THEY ARE VERY SUSPICIOUS OF A
LOT OF PLAYERS IN WESTERN
DEMOCRACIES.
AND THEY MAY LOOK AT YOUR
BACKGROUND AND THEY MAY SAY,
HEY, THERE'S A GUY THAT USED TO
WORK FOR THE FEDERAL LIBERAL
PARTY, USED TO WORK FOR
MCGUINTY, AND THEY WILL...
MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, AND THEY WILL
WONDER IF YOU BRING TO THE
CURRENT JOB YOU HAVE A PARTISAN
LENS.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Kevin says IT'S SIMPLY NOT ACCURATE.
I MEAN, I SPENT TWO YEARS
WORKING FOR MICHAEL IGNATIEFF.
HE WAS ACTUALLY MY PROFESSOR
FROM A LONG TIME AGO, WHICH IS
WHY I ENDED UP WORKING FOR HIM.
IN A CAREER THAT HAS BEEN OVER
15 YEARS.
I SPENT MORE TIME AS A
NON-PARTISAN PUBLIC SERVANT, AND
I'VE WORKED AT MCGILL
UNIVERSITY, AND NOW I'M HERE AT
FACEBOOK.
AND I'VE SPENT FOUR AND A HALF
YEARS AT FACEBOOK.
AND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS
WE ARE A PLATFORM FOR ALL
VOICES, AND SO IN MY JOB HERE WE
ACTUALLY NEED TO BE WORKING AND
SUPPORTING ALL POLITICAL
STRIPES, AND THAT'S A VERY
IMPORTANT THING FOR US AND
SOMETHING THAT WE DO, AND WE'RE
VERY MINDFUL OF THAT ON A
DAY-TO-DAY BASIS.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says HERE'S SOMETHING FROM
THE UNITED KINGDOM, HOUSE OF
COMMONS REPORT CALLED
"DISINFORMATION AND FAKE NEWS."
THIS CAME OUT IN FEBRUARY, AND
THESE WERE SOME FINDINGS
FOLLOWING AN 18-MONTH
INVESTIGATION INTO
DISINFORMATION AND FAKE NEWS...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Reading the riot act." The quote reads "Facebook has continually hidden behind obfuscation. It continues to choose profit over data security, taking risks in order to prioritise their aim of making money from user data.
It seems clear to us that Facebook acts only when serious breaches become public.
Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like 'digital gangsters' in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law."
Quoted from the U.K. House of Commons, "Disinformation and 'fake news': Final report". February 14, 2019.

Steve says OKAY, KEVIN, YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT?

The caption changes to "Holding social media providers to account."

Kevin says WELL, I THINK WE'VE ALREADY
BEEN VERY CLEAR ABOUT OUR
POSTURING WITH RESPECT TO
REGULATION AND LEGISLATION.
YOU KNOW, WE WELCOME IT AND WE
TALK ABOUT IN OUR FIELD, MARK
ZUCKERBERG HAS BEEN CLEAR THAT
PARTICULARLY IN THE AREAS OF
CONTENT, IN THE AREA OF PRIVACY,
IN THE AREA OF ELECTIONS AND IN
THE AREA OF DATA PORTABILITY, WE
THINK IT IS ACTUALLY VERY
HELPFUL IF GOVERNMENTS LAY DOWN
BASELINE AND ESTABLISH PROPER
FRAMEWORK.
I WOULD SAY, ACTUALLY, THE OTHER
THING, THOUGH, IS THAT IN CANADA
WE'RE ACTUALLY DOING PRETTY WELL
AS A GENERAL STATEMENT ABOUT
WHAT FRAMEWORKS ARE LIKE.
WE ACTUALLY DO HAVE A NATIONAL
PRIVACY FRAMEWORK, RIGHT?
WE'VE HAD THIS SINCE 1999 OR
2000.
WE NOW MOST RECENTLY HAVE A NEW
ELECTION LAW, C-76, WHICH
ACTUALLY DOES REGULATE ON-LINE
PLATFORMS AND POLITICAL
ADVERTISING AS IT PERTAINS TO
ELECTIONS.
AND SO IN MANY WAYS I WOULD SAY
WHEN I... IN MY ROLE ON A GLOBAL
POLICY TEAM, LOOKING AT ALL THE
COUNTRIES IN WHICH WE DO
OPERATE, CANADA ALREADY HAS
TAKEN SIGNIFICANT LEADERSHIP IN
ACTUALLY GETTING SOME OF THESE
FRAMEWORKS RIGHT.

Steve says DO YOU FEEL... I MEAN,
LET'S BE HONEST HERE.
MOST PEOPLE I KNOW LOVE
FACEBOOK.
THEY LOVE TO BE ON FACEBOOK.
THEY LOVE SHARING THEIR
PICTURES.
THEY LOVE TELLING THEIR STORIES.
THEY GET A LOT OF NEWS AND
INFORMATION OFF FACEBOOK.
AND MOST MILLENNIALS I KNOW
DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE FACT
THAT YOU'VE GOT ALL SORTS OF
PERSONAL PRIVATE INFORMATION
ABOUT THEM.
DO YOU THINK YOU'RE A BIT OF A
WHIPPING BOY RIGHT NOW, THAT YOU
KNOW, SOME CRITICS AND MEDIA
JUST LOVE TO HOUND FACEBOOK FOR
WHATEVER REASONS?

Kevin says I THINK THAT THE INTERNET
GENERALLY, BUT ALSO FACEBOOK
SPECIFICALLY, HAS GIVEN RISE TO
A LOT OF ISSUES THAT ARE NOT
NECESSARILY NEW ISSUES BUT ARE
ISSUES THAT ARE KIND OF SEEN
THROUGH A DIFFERENT PRISM
BECAUSE THEY'RE ON THE INTERNET.
AND SO WE KNOW WE HAVE A LOT OF
WORK TO DO.
YOU KNOW, THIS IS SOMETHING...
AND WE CAN'T DO IT ALONE, SO
OBVIOUSLY WE ARE DOING THINGS.
WE ARE DRASTICALLY CHANGING THE
WAY THE PLATFORM WORKS.
WE ARE TRYING TO GIVE CANADIANS
GREATER TRANSPARENCY IN
POLITICAL ADVERTISING.
WE ARE TRYING TO DEVELOP
PARTNERSHIPS.
BUT THE THING IS WE DO NEED TO
WORK WITH MORE PEOPLE, AND
THAT'S WHAT WE INTEND TO DO
BETWEEN NOW AND THE ELECTION,
BUT QUITE FRANKLY WAY PAST THE
ELECTION.

Steve says OKAY.
LET'S FINISH UP ON THIS.
MICHAEL WARNIC, FORMER CLERK OF
THE PRIVY COUNCIL, I THINK MANY
PEOPLE KNOW WHO HE IS TODAY THAN
DID SIX MONTHS AGO WHEN HE
OBVIOUSLY GAINED A GREAT DEAL OF
NOTORIETY TESTIFYING BEFORE A
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON THE
SNC-LAVALIN BUSINESS, AND HE
SAID SOMETHING DURING THE COURSE
OF HIS TESTIMONY THAT REALLY
CAPTURED A GREAT DEAL OF
ATTENTION.
HE EXPRESSED A GENUINE CONCERN
THAT HE FEARED SOME POLITICIAN
IN THIS COUNTRY WAS GOING TO BE
ASSASSINATED DURING THE UPCOMING
ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN PART
BECAUSE OF THEY'D BE MOTIVATED
TO DO IT BY SOMETHING THEY READ
ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND HE CALLED
THE DISCOURSE ON SOCIAL MEDIA A
VOMITORIUM.
THAT'S BASICALLY HOW HE REFERRED
TO IT.
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL FACEBOOK IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VOMITORIOUS
NATURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

Kevin says WELL, I THINK WHAT WE'RE
SEEING IS ACTUALLY PEOPLE BEING
ABLE TO HAVE A VOICE, AND
WHETHER OR NOT YOU OR I OR
OTHERS AGREE OR DISAGREE, I
THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT A
PLATFORM THAT IS OPEN LIKE
FACEBOOK NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO
ALLOW FOR AS MUCH EXPRESSION OF
VIEWS AS POSSIBLE.

Steve says BUT NOT HATE.

Kevin says AND SO THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says OR YES HATE?

Kevin says BUT THERE ARE AREAS WHERE WE
DO HAVE COMMUNITY STANDARDS, AND
SO THERE ARE AREAS LIKE HATEFUL
SPEECH, WHICH IS A MUCH HIGHER
THRESHOLD THAN THE HATE LAWS IN
CANADA.
IF YOU GO INTO THESE KIND OF...
IN THIS KIND OF TERRITORY, OR IF
YOU GO INTO THE TERRITORY LIKE
PORNOGRAPHY OR CHILD
EXPLOITATION, THOSE THINGS ARE
NOT ALLOWED ON OUR PLATFORM.
BUT IF IT'S NOT THESE KINDS OF
CATEGORIES OF THINGS, WE DO
THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE
GIVE AS MUCH SPACE TO LEGITIMATE
SPEECH AS POSSIBLE.
AND INCIDENTALLY, STEVE, I WOULD
SAY, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE NOT...
LIKE, MR. WERNICK WOULDN'T BE
THE ONLY ONE.
I PERSONALLY HAVE HAD PEOPLE SAY
THINGS ON-LINE AGAINST ME, AND I
THINK THAT'S JUST... SO I JUST
WANT YOU TO KNOW, I UNDERSTAND
WHERE THAT'S COMING FROM, BUT I
ALSO UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES
THAT ARE AT STAKE.
AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, THE
ABILITY TO EXPRESS YOUR
OPINIONS, WHETHER OR NOT I AGREE
WITH THEM OR YOU AGREE WITH
THEM, IS SOMETHING VERY PRECIOUS
AND SOMETHING WE NEED TO WORK
HARD TO STRIKE A BALANCE ON.

Steve says NO, CLEARLY FINDING
THE BALANCE BETWEEN FREE SPEECH
AND ILLEGAL SPEECH AND, YOU
KNOW, TRULY GENUINELY HATEFUL
SPEECH IS... YOU KNOW, THERE'S A
LOT OF GREY AREA THERE, AND ONE
PERSON'S HATEFUL SPEECH IS JUST
ANOTHER PERSON'S TOUGH CRITICISM.
HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU YOU GUYS
ARE GOING TO FIND THE RIGHT
BALANCE AND, YOU KNOW, FIND THAT
SWEET SPOT THAT WILL SATISFY PEOPLE?

Kevin says RIGHT, SO WE SORT OF TALKED
ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT THINGS WE
WANT TO DO.
MARK ZUCKERBERG ANNOUNCED LATE
LAST YEAR THAT WE'RE GOING TO
BUILD AN EXTERNAL INDEPENDENT
OVERSIGHT BOARD BY THE END OF
THIS YEAR THAT'S GOING TO BE
STAFFED BY VERY PROMINENT PEOPLE
FROM AROUND THE WORLD WHO ARE
GOING TO ACTUALLY DO... TAKE
OVER THIS KIND OF ROLE, OR AT
LEAST SOME OF THIS ROLE.
WE DON'T THINK THAT IT'S RIGHT
FOR FACEBOOK, ACTUALLY, TO BE
MAKING THESE DECISIONS ABOUT WHO
SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY WHAT ON
THE PLATFORM, OR WHAT STAYS UP
AND WHAT GOES DOWN.
SO WE WANT TO CREATE THIS BOARD,
EXTERNAL AND INDEPENDENT FROM
FACEBOOK, THAT IS GOING TO
ACTUALLY GOVERN SPEECH ON
THE PLATFORM. THERE IS A
CONSULTATION PROCESS OPEN, IT'S
STILL OPEN RIGHT NOW ONLINE.
YOU CAN FIND IT IF YOU SEARCH
FOR IT AND WE WELCOME INPUT
NOT JUST FROM EXPERTS AND
CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLARS THAT
WE'RE TALKING TO, BUT INDEED
FROM PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF
LIFE AND WE HOPE THAT PEOPLE
DO APPLY; APPLY THEIR KNOWLEDGE
AND SORT OF SUBMIT SOMETHING.
SO THAT'S ONE PIECE, I THINK
THE OTHER PIECE ON THIS IS
THAT WE DO WANT TO MAKE SURE
THAT GOVERNMENTS DO ACTUALLY SET
BASELINES.
WE AGREE WITH YOU THAT YOU DON'T
WANT FACEBOOK TO HAVE A CERTAIN
STANDARD AND OTHER PLATFORMS TO
HAVE DIFFERENT STANDARDS.
WE THINK THAT ACTUALLY HAVING
GOVERNMENT STEP IN AND SAY... OR
COLLECTIVELY AS A SOCIETY WE
THINK THAT THIS SHOULD BE THE
BASELINE FOR SPEECH ON-LINE.
THAT'S ACTUALLY A GOOD THING.
IT WILL BRING CLARITY TO WHAT
WE'RE ALL TRYING TO ACHIEVE,
WHICH IS, AGAIN, THIS FINE
BALANCE BETWEEN FREEDOM OF
EXPRESSION AND PROHIBITED SPEECH.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says GOOD.
KEVIN, WE WANT TO THANK YOU FOR
SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH US
HERE ON "THE AGENDA" THE LAST
COUPLE OF NIGHTS.
WE APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH.
THAT'S KEVIN CHAN, HE'S THE HEAD
OF PUBLIC POLICY FOR FACEBOOK
CANADA. APPRECIATE IT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Kevin says THANK YOU.

Watch: Facebook and Protecting the Federal Election