“Why is this fake news being consistently pumped at people?” she said. “I don’t understand why that is acceptable and why their algorithms are programmed this way.”
In a statement, Facebook said that it continues to improve its platform, including with the coming introduction of a database of political advertising that will respond to changes in Canada’s electoral law.
“We know we have more work to do, which means continuing to ramp up our efforts in the months ahead. Facebook is committed to being a force for good in Canada’s democracy,” said Kevin Chan, head of public policy at Facebook Canada.
Ms. Gould confirmed that a five-member panel of senior bureaucrats will be analyzing threats – as compiled by agencies such as the RCMP, CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment – and inform political parties and the public if they feel that the fairness of the election is compromised. The new team will comprise the clerk of the Privy Council, the national security adviser and the deputy ministers of the Justice, Foreign Affairs and Public Safety departments.
She said the group, which will operate by consensus, will mainly monitor cyberactivities that originate in foreign countries.
“This is not about refereeing the election. This is about alerting Canadians of an incident that jeopardizes their rights to a free and fair election," she said.
Ms. Gould refused to state which countries could attempt to influence the next Canadian election.
“We are a member of the G7, of NATO, of the Five Eyes. It would be naive of us to assume that we are not a target for a cyberattack," Ms. Gould said.
The Conservatives agreed on the need to call on senior bureaucrats to monitor cyberthreats during the election period to remove any partisan involvement in the process.
“It is very important that we, as the Official Opposition, as well as other democratic players, other parties, my other colleagues included, are part of those processes and that for a truly fair and democratic process, that these decisions do not rest entirely with the Trudeau government," Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie said.
Wesley Wark, a security expert and visiting research professor at the University of Ottawa, called the creation of the team of bureaucrats a “responsible compromise.”
© Globe and Mail