Digital Democracy Project
The Digital Democracy Project is a joint initiative led by the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.
The project aims at better understanding and ultimately developing policy options to address the challenges posed by disinformation and hate online. The project has three distinct phases:
- Media Training and Coordination
- Research and Analysis of the Canadian Media Ecosystem
- Policy Development
Phase One: Media Training and Coordination
PPF hosted a two-day media workshop on disinformation in May 2019. The workshop was organized in partnership with First Draft and included a series of presentations by ten globally recognized experts in their field. It brought together approx. 75 participants, including 50 Canadian journalists representing traditional and digital newsrooms from across Canada. Journalists were introduced to the scale of the disinformation challenge, the impact it has had on previous elections (incl. in Brazil and Europe), and global best practices. Following the workshop, PPF established and coordinated a network of journalists with which to communicate the findings from phase two.
Phase Two: Research and Analysis of the Canadian Media Ecosystem
The Max Bell School and collaborators researched the Canadian media ecosystem in the build up to last October’s federal election in Canada to analyze the spread and impact of disinformation. The researchers monitored digital and social media and conducted both regular national surveys and a study of a metered sample of online consumption. The preliminary findings were released publicly from August to October 2019 in the form of seven distinct research memos. To support real-time media coverage, the memos were shared with the project’s network of journalists and discussed in biweekly webinars. The study culminated in a final report published in May 2020.
Phase Three: Policy Development
This phase will be officially launched in May 2020. While under the Digital Democracy Project umbrella, phase three will have its own distinct identity: the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression. This will center on a small deliberative Commission, which will study the challenges posed by the digital economy on Canadian democracy, including online disinformation and hate, and to develop specific policies to address those challenges. The Commission’s work will be informed by multiple work streams, including a 42-person representative Citizen’s Assembly and original research program. The Commission will publish policy recommendations each year for three years, beginning in March 2021.
DDP Research Memo #7: The Partisan Playground
How Canadians take part in the political discussion onlineThursday October 17, 2019
DDP Research Memo #5: Fact-Checking, Blackface and the Media
Responses to fact-checking and the Trudeau blackface controversy on social mediaThursday October 3, 2019
DDP Research Memo #4: Talking Past Each Other on Immigration
Plus a case study on candidates' use of social mediaThursday September 26, 2019
DDP Research Memo #3: Polarization and its Discontents
Polarization in Canada vs. echo chambers on social mediaThursday September 12, 2019
DDP Research Memo #2: The Climate Change Conundrum
Exploring Canadians' views on climate policy optionsThursday August 29, 2019
DDP Research Memo #1: Media, Knowledge and Misinformation
How Canadians' news and social media consumption affects misinformationThursday August 8, 2019