Facebook. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Most Canadians would trade free social media for privacy, government action: survey

Majority of those asked thing social media is overall a positive

The vast majority of Canadians would give up free social media in exchange for more privacy and government action, a Simon Fraser University survey suggests.

The report, released Wednesday by SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, said 90 per cent of respondents would prefer their personal data be protected, rather than receiving free services.

Sixty-four per cent wanted fact checkers for online information, rather than figuring out what’s true or false themselves.

About 70 per cent said they’re worried about interference by politicians or foreign agents as the country gears up for this fall’s federal election.

Just under half of think the federal government should regulate social media platforms, while about one-quarter want them to self-regulate and 14 per cent don’t want any regulation.

“Given that we are so quick to click terms and conditions that trade away our privacy, we were surprised to learn that Canadians overwhelmingly value their personal privacy more than receiving free online services,” said the centre’s executive director Shaunna Sylvester.

When it came to hateful speech online, about 60 per cent of those surveyed supported stopping people saying harmful things and removing such content. But about 40 per cent said people should be able to say what they want and readers can decide if they want to look at it.

“There is certainly a desire to find ways to deal with harmful or hateful content that can poison civil discourse, but Canadians also support free speech,” Sylvester said. “We need to have a serious conversation in this country to navigate the tradeoffs between these deeply held values.”

Despite those conflicting views, 61 per cent of respondents said social media helps them have a voice in political discussions.

READ MORE: Voters likely to support populist leaders, Canada-first approach, survey suggests

READ MORE: Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

READ MORE: ‘Tips on steroids:’ Social media both a help, hurdle for Canadian police investigations


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Most Read