Canadian government departments have quietly blocked nearly 22,000 Facebook and Twitter users, with Global Affairs Canada accounting for nearly 20,000 of the blocked accounts citing porn, spam and hate among the top reasons for the move.
Around 1,500 posts a combination of official messages and comments from readers have been deleted from various government social media accounts since January 2016. There could be even more blocked accounts and deleted posts. In answer to questions tabled by Opposition MPs in the House of Commons, several departments said they don’t keep track of how often they block users or delete posts.It is unknown how many posts were deleted or users were blocked prior to the arrival of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
The numbers came as Environment Minister Catherine McKenna found herself in a social media firestorm over a tweet from her official departmental account on Tuesday which praised Syria for joining the Paris climate change agreement. But while McKenna announced very publicly that that tweet had been deleted, the numbers tabled in the House of Commons reveal there were 97 other posts deleted from that department’s accounts between Jan. 1, 2016 and Sept. 18, 2017.
One way to delete a comment, as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police noted, is to have the user’s account blocked.
Users blocked on Facebook can’t see things posted on an account’s profile, tag it in posts or start a conversation about it. Blocking a user on Twitter prevents them from following you, seeing your tweets or sending you a direct message.
Sometimes officials couldn’t explain why some users were blocked.