Not so long ago, the mass communication of information was the domain of “trusted” media who, with the aid of writers, fact checkers, editors and publishers/broadcasters had a monopoly on distribution channels. With the advent of the Internet, and in particular with the creation of platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter, anyone with a computer now has a voice which can be heard worldwide.
This allowed silenced voices to be heard, which was very much in the public interest, but it also facilitated anonymous malicious speech which causes immediate and devastating harm. This harm is inadequately addressed by our current litigation system which is too slow and expensive to provide meaningful mitigation of the harm done.
Much has been done to protect public interest speech, like in Canada the judicial adoption of the new defence of responsible communication and the introduction of anti-SLAPP legislation. However, little has been done to address the harm caused by the malicious and defamatory use of platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter.