Sunday, October 17, 2021

European politicians call for Facebook probe after whistleblower revelations

BRUSSELS/Stockholm: Two members of the European Parliament have demanded an investigation into allegations by a whistleblower that Facebook prioritized profit over the public good.

The whistleblower, Frances Hogen, who served as product manager on Facebook’s civil misinformation team, shared internal documents with newspapers and attorneys general in several US states.

A statement from European Parliament lawmakers said they were requesting further investigation into the revelations.

“The Facebook files—and the disclosures that whistleblowers presented to us—underscore how important it is that we don’t allow big tech companies to regulate themselves,” said Danish MP Kristel Schaldemos.

Shaldemos is the key rapporteur for the Digital Services Act, announced by the European Commission in December last year, which requires tech companies to do more to tackle illegal content.

“The documents finally all the facts allowed the adoption of a strong Digital Services Act,” said Alexandra Geise, a German MP in the European Parliament.

“We need to regulate the entire system and business model that supports propaganda and violence over factual content – ​​and enables its rapid spread,” she said.

francis-haugen
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is interviewed by Scott Pele in an undated photo for a CBS News 60 Minutes program. (Robert Fortunato Handout via CBS News/60Minutes/Reuters)

Geese and Schaldemos both said they had been in contact with Haugen.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Every day, we make difficult decisions about drawing the line between free expression and harmful speech, privacy, security and other issues.”

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“But we shouldn’t make these decisions ourselves… We are advocating for updated rules where democratic governments set industry standards that we can all follow.”

EU regulators are considering whether all online platforms, or only large platforms or those at particular risk of exposure to illegal activities by their users, should be subject to take-down notices, and how prescriptive these should be. needed.

“Our position is clear: public debate and the power of major platforms over social life must be subject to democratically validated rules, in particular on transparency and accountability,” a European Commission spokesperson said when asked about the allegations against Facebook. said.

Tech companies have said it is unfair and not technically possible to police the Internet. The current EU e-commerce directive states that intermediary service providers play a technical, automated and passive role.

Haugen will testify before a US Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, and is expected to speak at the Webb summit in Portugal in early November.

Reuters

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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