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Heather Scoffield: Canada tries to ride the median in quandary over big tech

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NDP MP Charlie Angus is not one to mince words, and these days, he saves his most cutting criticisms for the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Big tech, he says, is ruthless, "a kill-zone of innovation." They take people's personal information without asking, then turn around and sell it. They push extremist content, they are complicit in human rights abuses, they spread spurious information, they undermine democracy.

But Angus has also seen social media transform his enormous northern Ontario riding, often for the better. He is an avid user of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, chatting and advertising to connect with his constituents in remote First Nations communities. And he has been amazed as the constituents — especially Indigenous youth — use the platforms to talk to each other, gaining confidence and knowledge.

He is hooked by social media's potential to link disparate peoples together, to generate ideas, to collaborate, to start businesses with global reach. But not so hooked, he says, that he is going to sit on the sidelines and take potshots while the technology behemoths steamroll over small business, privacy rights and the roots of democracy.

"The days when they can ignore corporate, legal and........

© St. Catharines Standard