Wednesday, October 27, 2021
ADVT 
National

Canadians say Facebook harms mental health: poll

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 13 Oct, 2021 10:09 AM
  • Canadians say Facebook harms mental health: poll

OTTAWA - A broad swath of Canadians has a sour view of Facebook, with half of respondents to a new poll saying it should be regulated or broken up as a "corporate image" crisis rocks the social media giant yet again.

Forty per cent of those who responded to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they had a negative opinion of the company.

The vast majority also agreed that Facebook amplifies hate speech, helps spread fake news, damages individuals' mental health and poses a risk to children and teenagers.

However, more than three in four believe the social network helps them stay connected to their loved ones, with just over 50 per cent saying it is key to sharing information and positive for free expression.

Conducted Oct. 8 to 10, the online poll surveyed 1,545 Canadians and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says Canadians maintain a dependence on Facebook but not a strong affection for it, as the platform confronts intense public scrutiny over how its algorithms fan inflammatory rhetoric and affect users' self-esteem.

"There’s sort of an I-need-you-but-I-don’t-love-you relationship," Bourque said in an interview.

"Facebook really has a corporate image problem now that they will need to face."

Last week Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a United States Senate committee that the company's products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S., a claim supported by internal company research leaked to the Wall Street Journal.

The former executive's testimony piles on more baggage to a corporation already staggering under the weight of hate-speech concerns, conspiracy theory proliferation and the Cambridge Analytica data-mining debacle of 2018.

“Facebook is starting to be an onion. The leaks were basically just one more layer," Bourque said.

He highlighted the platform as a space where supporters of then-president Donald Trump called on citizens to storm the U.S. Capitol in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

"A single event is never enough to destroy a company. But a series of events, then it becomes something, becomes like a snowball."

Facebook Canada said in an emailed statement it continues make investments that target misinformation and harmful content.

“Canadians come to Facebook to connect with their loved ones, grow their businesses and share what matters to them," the company wrote.

It also highlighted the platform's banning of several Canadian hate organizations and a $500,000 partnership with Ontario Tech University’s Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism that aims to bolster research on the spread of those elements online.

Claiming roughly 2.9 billion active monthly users, Facebook also owns the mobile apps Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, each of which counts at least 1.3 billion users.

Asked whether the conglomerate should be broken up "to ensure healthy competition" and have its interactions with users regulated, more than one-quarter of survey respondents replied in the affirmative. Another 23 per cent said it should only be regulated by government.

"We agree that thoughtful regulations for the internet are needed and stand ready to work with Canadian policy-makers," Facebook Canada said.

Only one in five respondents had a positive view of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with nearly half checking the negative box and one-third unsure.

About 87 per cent of respondents said his company contributes to misinformation and can harm youth, amounting to a Canadian "consensus" that reflects a similar but slightly weaker American one, Bourque said.

In last month's federal election, the Liberals pledged to introduce legislation within 100 days that combats online hate speech and content that incites violence.

The promise comes after the minority Liberal government tabled a bill last November proposing to regulate Facebook, YouTube and other platforms, but which died in the Senate once the election was triggered.

 

MORE National ARTICLES

Sarnia mayor welcomes U.S. land border reopening

Sarnia mayor welcomes U.S. land border reopening

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said Wednesday that he believes Canadians will be cautious about driving south for day trips given that some parts of the U.S. have looser public health measures and higher COVID-19 case counts — a concern he said also emerged when Canada eased its border restrictions for Americans earlier this year.

Sarnia mayor welcomes U.S. land border reopening

Canada's antisemitism envoy to be permanent: PM

Canada's antisemitism envoy to be permanent: PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making the announcement today in a virtual appearance at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism.

Canada's antisemitism envoy to be permanent: PM

West Fraser to buy U.S. sawmill for US$300 million

West Fraser to buy U.S. sawmill for US$300 million

The purchase from Angelina Forest Products will be funded with cash on hand and is expected to close after receiving U.S. regulatory approvals. The Vancouver-based company will provide further details about the transaction during its third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 28.

West Fraser to buy U.S. sawmill for US$300 million

Former homeless site in Vancouver open to public

Former homeless site in Vancouver open to public

The east side of the park was closed in May to allow remediation work after hundreds of campers were moved to indoor housing. The campers moved to Strathcona after being forced out of two other city parks.

Former homeless site in Vancouver open to public

Trudeau joins G20 in pushing Taliban to allow aid

Trudeau joins G20 in pushing Taliban to allow aid

During a virtual summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his fellow G20 leaders discussed the crisis in Afghanistan created by the Taliban rout of Kabul's Western-backed government.

 

 

Trudeau joins G20 in pushing Taliban to allow aid

2,090 COVID19 cases over 4 days

2,090 COVID19 cases over 4 days

There are 5,183 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 186,955 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 357 individuals are in hospital and 153 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

2,090 COVID19 cases over 4 days

PrevNext