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Elections Canada suggests voter contact registry for bot users on social media

first_imgOTTAWA – A discussion paper prepared for Elections Canada suggests the use of “bots” on social media to spread disinformation, amplify political messages or disparage others could be monitored and regulated in the same way as automated phone messages during federal campaigns.Since the robocall vote suppression scandal in the 2011 campaign — in which thousands of voters complained they’d received live and automated phone calls purportedly from Elections Canada officials who directed them to the wrong polling stations — anyone using a call service provider to contact voters is required to register with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.Failure to comply is punishable by a fine of $1,500 up to $15,000.One junior Conservative staffer was eventually found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act for his part in the use of misleading robocalls in Guelph, Ont., during the 2011 campaign.Since then, the potential to mislead voters has increased exponentially, thanks in part to the use of bots — software applications that spread automated messages like wildfire via the internet.The discussion paper, prepared for Elections Canada last August and obtained through the Access to Information Act, suggests that a voter contact registry, similar to that in place for robocalls, could be set up for any company that provides or creates bots for political entities or for use during election campaigns.last_img

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