Policing the conversation? Evaluating different approaches to content moderation

Tuesday November 24: 1:25 – 2:20 PM

Misinformation and extremist content present serious challenges to democracy and public discourse. As conspiracy theories about COVID-19 circulate on social media platforms, there is a perception that the pandemic has accelerated production of online content meant to manipulate, deceive, or radicalize users. This panel will cover the nature of online misinformation we’re dealing with, emerging policies and tools being developed by governments and platforms, and what it all means for the future of online expression. This session assesses the compatibility of public and private-led responses to misinformation and extremist content with a free and open internet, public and democratic accountability, and core principles of human rights.

Speakers:

Suzie Dunn, University of Ottawa
Steve de Eyre, Tik Tok
Fenwick McElvey, Concordia University
Kevin Chan, Facebook
David Moscrop, University of Ottawa (moderator)

Suzie Dunn is PhD student and part time professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She currently teaches contracts law at the University and provides lectures on law and technology.

Her research centers on the intersections of gender, equality, technology and the law, with a specific focus the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, deepfakes, and impersonation in digital spaces. She was awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship for her PhD research.

Steve de Eyre
Steve de Eyre leads TikTok’s public policy and government relations in Canada, working with all levels of government to inform them about TikTok’s commitment to user safety and privacy, and how Canadians are using TikTok create and find unique Canadian content online. Prior to joining TikTok in 2020, he was Head of Public Policy at Amazon.ca from 2016 to 2020, where he established Amazon’s government relations team for Canada and was responsible for government engagement related to Amazon’s consumer businesses and corporate workforce in Canada.

Steve has extensive experience in internet and technology policy, international and digital trade, and Canada-US relations. He previously served at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. as the local representative for Innovation, Science & Economic Development, and with the Canada Border Services Agency. Steve has also worked at the Ontario Legislative Assembly, the US Federal Trade Commission, and as a volunteer on political campaigns in both Canada and the United States.

Steve holds a B.A. (Honours) in Political Studies from Bishop’s University, where he was named a “Top 10 after 10” alumni in 2019; and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Cleveland, Ohio), where he served as a Senior Fellow with the Canada-United States Law Institute. He resides in Oakville, Ontario with his wife and two children.

Kevin Chan
Kevin is a Director and Head of Public Policy, Canada at Facebook. He is also a 2020/21 Technology and Democracy Fellow at Harvard. At Facebook, he has spearheaded the creation of Facebook’s Canadian Election Integrity Initiative, the Digital News Innovation Challenge in partnership with Ryerson University, and the Facebook – Canadian Press News Fellowship. He co-founded with the National Arts Centre #CanadaPerforms, the COVID-19 relief fund for the performing arts that has become a national livestreaming platform promoting Canadian culture online. Its success inspired sister initiatives globally, including #ArtsAcrossAmerica in partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The work he led to remove Canadian violent extremists from Facebook’s platforms made NOW Magazine’s 2019 Year in Review. Kevin has testified before numerous Parliamentary committees, including the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. A graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, the Ivey Business School, and the Royal Conservatory of Music, he is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Fenwick McKelvey
Amidst discussion of the Internet of Things, Fenwick McKelvey studies the Internet as Things. Investigating the machines, bots, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and daemons that make up the Internet’s infrastructure, his research takes him from debates at the CRTC to data centres and from Gilles Deleuze to John Dewey. His recent and ongoing studies have focused on the daemons that manage Internet flows and their role in Network Neutrality debates, the new software and social media platforms that mediate political engagement, and the algorithms and AIs that govern the discoverability of online content. Dr. McKelvey is an Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technology Policy in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University.

Whenever possible, McKelvey participates in public debates and issue-driven discussions related to the Internet as things, frequently serving as a commentator for a variety of media organizations, including CBC’s Power and Politics and The National, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Montreal Gazette, among others.

David Moscrop
David Moscrop is the author of ‘Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones.’ He holds a PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia and is currently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. He’s also a columnist with the Washington Post, a regular writer with Maclean’s Magazine, and a political commentator for print, radio, and television. He lives in Ottawa.

Note: Additional speakers are currently being confirmed and will be announced in the coming days.