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OTTAWA – July 16, 2020 – As advertisers worldwide participate in one of the largest boycotts in Facebook’s history, new data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) suggests that Canadians are concerned about harassment and toxicity on social media platforms.

Three in ten Canadians say they have been reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion because they are concerned about harassment. Facebook, in particular, is named by 41 per cent of Canadians as the most toxic site they use.
The findings are part of Canada's Internet Factbook, a comprehensive look at Canadians' internet usage and habits during the era of COVID-19.  

Key findings

  • Can’t stop scrolling. One in ten (11 per cent) of Canadians say they're addicted to the internet.

  • Skip the dishes. Just over half of Canadians (53 per cent) ordered food online in 2020, a significant jump from 27 per cent in 2019.

  • Time out. Well over half (58 per cent) of parents enforce screen time rules for kids under 18.

    • Most common methods are unwritten rules (51 percent), weekday limits (39 per cent), and schedules (33 per cent)

  • Anti-social media. Three in ten Canadians say they have been reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion because they are concerned about harassment.

    • Facebook is named by 41 per cent of Canadians as the most toxic site they use.

    • Less than two-thirds (63 per cent) felt safe from harassment on Facebook.

  • How do they know? Over a third of Canadians (37 per cent) think their smartphones listen to them via the microphone without permission.

  • Thank you Alexa. Seven in ten Canadians say “please” and “thank you” to their voice-activated assistant. Whereas one-third of Canadians have sworn at their voice-activated assistant

Executive quotes

Canadians are embracing the digital economy at an unprecedented rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results speak for themselves, Canadians are shopping, connecting and learning online more than ever, and we are proud that the .CA domain continues to be a symbol of trust online.

Byron Holland, president and CEO, Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Additional resources

About Canada’s Internet Factbook

CIRA developed Canada's Internet Factbook 2020 through an online survey conducted by The Strategic Counsel. The purpose of CIRA's research is to identify trends in Canadian internet use. A total of 2,000 adult Canadians (18+) took the survey, conducted between March 24 and 31. The survey sample is weighted proportionate to population by province. It is also proportionate by age and by gender.

About the Canadian Internet Registration Authority

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. CIRA also develops technologies and services—such as D-Zone DNS Firewall—that help support its goal of building a better online Canada. The CIRA team operates one of the fastest-growing country code top-level domains (ccTLD), a high-performance global DNS network, and one of the world’s most advanced back-end registry solutions.