Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is pledging new Canadian money to a United Nations initiative to help technology companies respond to terrorists using their platforms to spread extremist content online.
But while the $1 million will focus on helping smaller tech firms move to identify the content faster, it contained no new measures to place new legal requirements on big companies like Facebook and Twitter, often accused of doing too little to stop extremist content from circulating among their users.
“Small technology companies are key partners in preventing the dissemination of violent extremist content but often lack the capacity and financial resources to do so,” a press release announcing the pledge said.
The money will go to Tech Against Terrorism, which is supported by the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate.
WATCH: Canada looking at whether to force social media to remove extremist content, says Goodale
The fund gets money from both governments and tech companies, and according to its website, the donors in 2017 were the Swiss and Korean governments, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Telefonica.
It operates under the notion that technology companies should be the leaders in determining how and when to remove or regulate content online.
The Canadian funding will go towards creating what Goodale described as a “digital repository that will notify smaller companies when new terrorist content is detected, which will support them in quickly removing it.”
Goodale also said the government will collaborate on a Youth Summit on Countering Violent Extremism Online, which will be shaped with the input of Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and Google and will bring youth leaders to meet with tech workers to discuss their ideas on how to tackle extremist content online.
Those plans come after Canadian officials on Wednesday added two neo-Nazi groups to the country’s list of banned terrorist entities.
The addition of Blood & Honour and Combat 18 marks the first time the government has added right-wing extremist groups to the list.
Inclusion on the list means people or organizations can face severe penalties for dealing with the properties or finances of one of the groups on the list and also makes it a crime to particulate or contribute to any of their activities.
Goodale has told Global News in March that he was looking “very, very carefully” at whether regulations should be used to require social media companies operating in Canada to remove extremist content in the wake of a double mosque shooting in Christchurch earlier this year that the killer streamed live on Facebook.
But there is no further indication of whether that remains a consideration for the government.