Beaches-East York MP to take part in international conference on Social Media Disinformation

Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is the only Canadian taking part in the online international Forum on COVID-19 Social Media Disinformation hosted by George Washington University on June 16.

By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is participating in an international conference on Tuesday, June 16 with United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and European Commission vice president Věra Jourová.

They will be joined by a group of lawmakers from several countries for the Forum on COVID-19 Social Media Disinformation, hosted by George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP).

Participants will examine how social media platforms are unable to successfully moderate dangerous content that could put the health and financial security of consumers at risk.

The forum includes leading policymakers from the United States and the European Union where legislators will discuss the consequences of “digital platforms’ misinformation negligence with real people who have been directly harmed,” the press release said.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the event will be hosted online. The event is a first in a series to be hosted by IDDP, alongside workshops on disinformation and online governance hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Both event series are held in cooperation with members of the International Grand Committee (ICG) on Disinformation, of which Erskine-Smith is a member.

The IGC is a group of elected representatives from around the world who work to advance international collaboration on regulation of social media to combat harmful content, hate speech, and electoral interference.

Since 2018, it’s been involved in a number of conferences and workshops with other organizations in several countries.

“We need our legislators to be prepared and educated to tackle these issues,” Erskine-Smith said on being a member. “We can’t constantly be regulating decades after the fact, when the problem has become difficult to control.”

The IDDP event is in collaboration with the IGC.

The event will begin with opening remarks from Pelosi and Jourová.

Remarks will be followed by a COVID-19 public health disinformation panel featuring U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust chairman Rep. David Cicilline, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, United Kingdom Member of Parliament Damian Collins, Mount Sinai Health System’s Dr. Duncan Maru, and Yale University’s Dr. Jasmine Weiss. It will be moderated by GW School of Media and Public Affairs director Frank Sesno.

Erskine-Smith – the only Canadian on the panel – will follow in the COVID-19 scams and profiteering panel. He will discuss the issue alongside U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Reset Mentoring member Randy Smith, Icahn School of Medicine’s assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine Sonya Stokes. Like the panel before, Sesno will moderate

The conference will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and from noon to 1 p.m. A live video stream is available at https://go.gwu.edu/iddcovid19panels

  • Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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