Detoxing Democracy

Blog Post

Thursday, August 18, 2022 View Count = 82

Detoxing Democracy

Webinar: Addressing Toxicity in Online Political Conversations

2022 - Detoxing Democracy event page (1)

Toxic online spaces are harming our democracy. Heightened online toxicity can lead to people leaving politics, hesitating to enter politics, or simply avoiding political conversations altogether. 

In 2021, the Samara Centre for Democracy launched SAMbot, a machine learning bot, to track toxic sentiment on Twitter during the 2021 Canadian Federal Election. Since then, SAMbot has tracked a provincial election and will be monitoring multiple municipal and leadership elections over the coming months.

Watch this webinar to learn about how SAMbot is enabling the Samara Centre to better understand how online toxicity is shaping our democratic culture. As well, in a panel discussion, hear from experts in law, human rights and journalism, to learn about how we can mitigate online toxicity to create safer spaces for democratic participation.

Read more in the SAMbot: 2021 Federal Election Snapshot.

Panelists

Amira Elghawaby

Amira Elghawaby is an award-winning journalist and human rights advocate. She works with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation as its Director of Strategic Communications and Campaigns. Amira has also been involved with numerous initiatives to counter hate and promote inclusion, including as a founding board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, as a Champion of the United For All United Way-East Ontario initiative, and as a board member with the Silk Road Institute.

Rosel Kim

Rosel Kim is a staff lawyer at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She leads LEAF’s Technology-Facilitated Violence Project, which explores equality-centred legal responses to technology-facilitated gender-based violence. Rosel has written about technology-facilitated gender-based violence, race, and identity for the Toronto Star, CBA National, and Puritan Magazine, among other publications.

Shari Graydon

As a print and broadcast columnist, best-selling author and award-winning women’s advocate, Shari Graydon has spent 30 years using media to draw attention to issues she knows and cares about. Now she motivates and trains others to do the same through Informed Opinions, which is working to amplify women's voices and make Canada more democratic. The non-profit has supported thousands of subject matter experts to share their knowledge in engaging and persuasive ways. Current Informed Opinions projects include the #ToxicHush campaign to end online hate targeting women.

Moderator

Sabreena Delhon

Sabreena Delhon is the Executive Director of the Samara Centre for Democracy. Prior to joining Samara, Sabreena was the Principal of Signal Strategies and managed access to justice initiatives at the Law Society of Ontario. She has directed research studies that examine public perceptions of legal technology and the justice system; results have informed the work of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General and can be found on law school syllabi. She is a Fellow with Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Massey College.

Presenter

Alex MacIsaac

Alex is the Project Coordinator for the SAMbot initiative, which examines how online toxicity affects civic engagement during Canadian elections. Alex is a recent graduate of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Society program, where his research focused on digital privacy law, digital democracy, and the spread of dis- and misinformation online, all within a Canadian context.


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