The Minister of Democratic Institutions, the Honourable Karina Gould, defended the government’s plans to protect election integrity while Facebook’s Head of Public Policy Canada, Kevin Chan, defended its response to curbing interference on the social media platform at a policy panel organized by the Carleton Institute for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement.

More than 100 Members of Parliament and Senators, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other members of the diplomatic community, senior government officials, political staffers, journalists, business representatives, opinion leaders, and Carleton faculty and students listened to a panel of experts debate the impact of artificial intelligence on democracy and its potential impact on the Canadian federal election.

Dr. Merlyna Lim, Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Global Network Society at Carleton University, presented a primer on the different types of Artificial Intelligence, actors and interference, including deep fake technology.

Minister Gould outlined the government’s four pillar plan to protect the election by combating foreign interference, enhancing public awareness, improving government coordination and pressuring media platforms to act responsibly.

Allan Rock, Commissioner with the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, praised Canada’s solid election infrastructure but called for further regulation of social media.

Matthew Hindman, Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University and author of The Myth of Digital Democracy and of The Internet Trap: How the Digital Economy Builds Monopolies and Undermines Democracy, outlined the degree of misinformation on social media and highlighted that 40% of Internet traffic is fake.

Kevin Chan pointed out Facebook’s recent measures to protect against interference including its Canadian Election Integrity Initiative, tripling its security team and using AI to identify and disable fake accounts across the platform.

Dr. David Mendeloff, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, thanked the panel at the event which took place at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.

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