L.A, 2022-06-24 08:34:00. YouTube can tackle the algorithm under the broadcast bill: the CRTC كرسي chair
The head of Canada’s broadcast regulator says it could require platforms like YouTube to “tinker” with their algorithms to make it easier to find Canadian music, under the powers in the online streaming bill.
Ian Scott told one of the Senate committees examining the bill that while RTTC would not want to manipulate the algorithms themselves, it could tell the platforms, “I want you to manipulate it (the algorithm) to achieve certain results.”
His statements have been seized by critics of the internet broadcasting bill, who say it confirms what they warn of.
Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia said Scott’s comments confirmed “what we’ve been saying all along.” OpenMedia is an organization dedicated to keeping the Internet open. While it is primarily funded by individuals, it gets some funding from Google, whose parent company YouTube also owns.
YouTube has warned that Canadian digital creators, including influencers and publishers, could lose foreign revenue if the government forces digital platforms to promote Canadian content.
This is because the algorithms push the boundaries, and if a Canadian song presented to a YouTube audience in Canada is not liked or selected, it may indicate that it is not popular. This, in turn, could lead to a worldwide downgrade of its rating.
The bill would update Canadian streaming laws to apply to platforms including Netflix, YouTube and Spotify, forcing them to take steps to make Canadian content – including music, movies and TV shows – more discoverable.
It has long been clear that these rules will require algorithmic manipulation, said Michael Guest, Canada Research Chair in Internet Law at the University of Ottawa.
“In fact, this is exactly why many Canadian digital creators have expressed concern about the bill and the harm it might cause,” he said.
“The CRTC head acknowledged that the law would allow the government to do indirectly what it says it cannot do directly, by putting pressure on platforms to manipulate their algorithms to prioritize certain content over others.”
Geist said this could lead to a global downgrade of content for Canadian creators, resulting in lower revenue and exposure.
But Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has said publicly that the bill would not lead to platforms being required to manipulate their algorithms.
His spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the government’s position has not changed, noting that part of Bill C-11 specifically excludes algorithm manipulation. A provision in the law would prevent the CRTC from issuing an order requiring “the use of a particular computer algorithm or source code”.
“The government will require the CRTC to work with platforms to showcase content so that more Canadians can find, choose and enjoy content from Canadian artists and creators,” said Laura Scavidi.
“It is up to the platforms to decide how best to achieve these goals.”
Scott made the remarks Wednesday evening while appearing before the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee, which is conducting a pre-examination of the bill.
The webcasting bill passed this week through the House of Commons but will now be scrutinized more closely in the Senate.
In his opening remarks to the committee, Scott said the CRTC “largely supports” the bill, but wanted to see some amendments made, including one that would allow it to continue resolving disputes.
YouTube, Spotify and CRTC declined to comment.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on June 24, 2022.
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