Facebook, Microsoft Sign Ottawa’s Declaration on Electoral Integrity

Facebook and Microsoft have signed a declaration promising several initiatives aimed to help to protect the integrity of the Canadian election this fall — including removing fake social-media accounts and phony content.

A new report from Reuters explains that the tech giants’ “declaration” commits them to “intensifying” efforts to fight disinformation and junk news, as well as cracking down on fake accounts. But other tech giants, including Twitter, have not yet signed on.

Just last month Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the world’s social media companies are not doing enough to help fight back against foreign meddling in elections and that Ottawa might have to regulate the companies if they didn’t take the proper steps.

Now, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould has said that the “two companies had made commitments in a voluntary declaration on electoral integrity,” reads the report.

“The Wild West online era cannot continue – inaction is not an option. Disinformation must not stand,” said Gould, repeating Trudeau’s threat to crack down on social media giants if necessary. “The malicious, multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat.”

The “Canada Declaration on Electoral Integrity” is being announced today by Gould hours ahead of the beginning of a three-day meeting in Ottawa between an international committee of politicians on examining ways to protect the fairness of the democratic process and privacy of citizens.

“I think they have an absolute interest to be good actors in the Canadian democratic space, and if that is not the case then we will be coming back with stronger regulatory reforms,” explained Gould.

The nine-country committee was created in the wake of Facebook‘s Cambridge Analytica scandal last year and has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the increasingly central role tech and social media giants play in modern life.

The committee has invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sharyl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, as well as top executives from Amazon, Google and Microsoft to testify.