A 73-year-old Canadian law that bans the publication of election results across time zones has finally caved in to the all-consuming power of Twitter, Facebook and other social networking tools, report Reuters.
Under the law, any public broadcast (including posting on a social networking feed) of election night results in ridings located in earlier timezones was against the rules. The idea was to keep final results from ridings on the East Coast from influencing the votes of citizens residing on the West Coast, which could be up to three hours behind.
In the past, this really only effected traditional news sources like television and radio broadcasts, since individual citizens had no way to share local results en masse across the country in real time. Social networks, especially Twitter, have changed all that, as evidenced during the recent general election, when the law — which was seen as comical and antiquated to most — seemed to actually encourage people to post results from their own ridings in order to make a point. In some cases, Canadian citizens even sent their own local results to helpful Americans, who would then push them out over the social networks beyond the reach of Elections Canada.
In so many — often unexpected — ways, social networking continues to shape our world, and it is nice to see at least one government agency moving to adjust policies in light of that.