Under Canadian law, it's illegal to wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, other than in private conversation.
This section of the Criminal Code has prompted the nonprofit Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to call for an RCMP investigation of social-media giants Facebook and YouTube.
That's because a white supremacist who perpetrated mass murder at two Christchurch mosques livestreamed his killing rampage.
“Facebook and YouTube, as well as other social media platforms, broadcast a suspected hate crime without modification, to billions of people, including millions of Canadians," Friends of Canadian Broadcasting executive director Daniel Bernhard said in a news release.
“It’s not OK to broadcast a hate crime in Canada," he continued. "By amplifying this massacre and promoting it to Canadians without context, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media companies may have committed crimes of their own.”
Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have reportedly scrambled to remove the video from their platforms.
The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission does not regulate the two U.S. digital giants, and Facebook claims it's a platform, not a publisher.
But Friends of Canadian Broadcasting maintains that the company's algorithm is actually performing curatorial functions. And the group insists that YouTube is a broadcaster, even if it's not licensed by the federal regulator in Canada.
"The federal government must take urgent action to hold them legally responsible when they disseminate illegal content of any kind," Bernhard said. "We cannot wait until 2021 for a new Broadcasting Act: the government must step in now.”