Elon Musk Takes Notice of Canada’s Controversial Internet Censorship Bill

Tesla, SpaceX, and now-Twitter CEO Elon Musk has taken notice of the Canadian government’s controversial Online Streaming Act, also known as Bill C-11.

“Now that you own Twitter, will you help fight back against Trudeau’s online censorship bill C-11?” the anti-Trudeau group Canada Proud asked Musk in a tweet on Friday.

“First I’ve heard,” Musk said in response. It looks like the eccentric entrepreneur wasn’t aware of Ottawa’s proposed plans to regulate online streaming and social media platforms.

Musk currently has his hands full with shaking up Twitter’s leadership, but he might want to get up to speed quickly since he now owns a social media platform that could face Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulation if the bill passes.

The Liberals tabled Bill C-11 in February as a successor to Bill C-10, which flopped last year, and an amendment to the Broadcasting Act. Bill C-11 is intended to make streaming platforms promote and invest in Canadian content, much like traditional broadcasters do, by giving the CRTC regulatory authority over them.

While the Liberals have argued that Bill C-11 is designed solely to nurture Canadian content and will only regulate commercial productions, experts and the Canadian people are concerned the often-ambiguous language therein could result in the regulation of user-generated content — which Twitter has a lot of.

These fears have been worsened by CRTC chair Ian Scott, who said in May that the bill would indeed cover user-generated content.

Streaming platforms like YouTube and TikTok, meanwhile, are troubled by the possibility of Bill C-11 allowing the CRTC to demand changes to their content discovery algorithms, which they argue would harm Canadian content creators.

Bill C-11 was passed by the House of Commons back in June. It is currently on its way through the Senate, where any amendments would require it to pass through the House of Commons once again before becoming law.