Digital Democracy Project

The Digital Democracy Project is a joint initiative led by the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University and the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum.

The project will study the media ecosystem in the run-up to and during Canada’s October 2019 federal election by monitoring digital and social media and by conducting both regular national surveys and a study of a metered sample of online consumption. The project will communicate its preliminary research findings publicly on a regular basis from August to October 2019, and will work with journalists to analyze the spread and impact of misinformation. The study will culminate in a final report to be published by March 2020. Both the project’s preliminary findings and final report will be publicly available.

The project director is Taylor Owen, Associate Professor and Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. The online data analysis team is led by Derek Ruths, Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University, and the survey analysis team is led by Peter Loewen, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

The project is funded by The Rossy Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, and the Luminate Group. The project is also participating in the Digital Elections Research Challenge, a collaborative research project led by Taylor Owen and Elizabeth Dubois, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, and funded by a grant from Heritage Canada. The DDP will be sharing survey and online data with the 18 research projects funded through this collaboration and will highlight select findings from these projects in our regular briefings.

For enquiries, please contact stephanie [at] (Stephanie MacLellan.)

This is the first report from the Digital Democracy Project, a partnership between the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. The goal of this report is to provide an initial snapshot of the Canadian political media ecosystem leading up to this fall’s federal election.

This is the second report in the series of the Digital Democracy Project’s Research Memos that are mapping the media ecosystem in the run-up to Canada’s October 2019 federal election. It focuses on Canadian’s perceptions of what is shaping up to be a key election issue: the environment, and especially climate change.

This is the third of a series of Digital Democracy Project Research Memos that map the media ecosystem in the run-up to Canada's October 2019 federal election. It looks at whether Canadian's are polarized and how that relate to the social media environment.

This Memo that examines Canadians' opinions on immigration and their populist and nativist tendencies.

This report takes a closer look at the effectiveness of fact-checking the Trudeau blackface controversy on social media.

The DDP partnered with the Online Political Transparency Project to analyse the Facebook advertising landscape during the federal election campaign.

The final DDP election-period report finds that Canadians with partisan interests are more politically active, and less likely to engage with news that doesn’t support their worldview. This is a potential source of vulnerability for the information environment.

Researchers, policy-makers and the public at large are paying more attention to the threats that disinformation and other forms of online media manipulation pose to democratic institutions and political life.

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