Issue at a Glance
Online brand safety entails protecting a brand’s image and reputation from the negative influence of inappropriate and potentially harmful content when advertising online.
Brand safety has been a growing concern in recent years as a result of a rise in “fake news”, the surge of extremist voices on websites and on social media, growth in bot traffic, and concerns about the influence of online content on democracy and elections.
Many brands have adjusted their advertising strategies and budgets, and pulled ads, in response to their ads being placed next to undesirable content.
Hate and Misinformation
Hate speech and misinformation became a significant issue in Canadian public discourse following increased awareness of hatred and injustice towards BIPOC communities following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The CMA made a public statement about the need to stand together against hate, expressed support for brands who use their influence to affect positive social change, and spoke with major platforms on the issue.
In June 2021, the federal government announced a new plan to better protect Canadians from hate speech and online harms. Bill C-36 includes amendments to several existing laws, including to streamline the process for individuals to make hate speech complaints (to the Canadian Human Rights Commission) against individual users and certain website operators. Operators of social media platforms are not included in those plans, and government is expected to release a separate plan specific to social media and online services over the summer.
The CMA will update this webpage as details are announced.