Sunday, December 5, 2021

Facebook Denies UK Lawmakers Setting Internet Safety Rules

LONDON (AP) – UK lawmakers discussed on Thursday Facebook how it keeps the internet safe as European countries try to rein in the power of social media companies, with the tech giant’s chief security officer said the company supports regulation and does not has a commercial interest in providing people with “unsafe experiences”.

Representatives from Google, Twitter and TikTok also responded to questions from a parliamentary committee examining the UK government’s anti-malicious online content bill. This came just days after the companies testified before US lawmakers and failed to make a strong commitment to US legislation that strengthens the protection of children from harm online, ranging from eating disorders, sexually explicit content, and materials promoting addictive drugs.

Governments on both sides of the Atlantic want to tighten rules to protect social media users, especially young ones, but the UK’s efforts go much further. UK lawmakers are asking researchers, journalists, tech executives and other experts to report back to the government on how to improve the final Internet safety bill. The European Union is also working on digital rules.

Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global security, who reached out to UK lawmakers via videoconference, defended the company’s internal research on how its Instagram photo-sharing platform can harm teens, including encouraging eating disorders or even suicide.

“Where does the dollar end?” Damian Collins, the deputy head of the committee, asked.

“This is a company staffed by experts, and we are all working together to make these decisions,” Davis said. She added that “we have no business interest, no business interest in providing people with negative or unsafe experiences.”

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Davis said Facebook is heavily supportive of UK safety legislation and has an interest in regulation that gives publicly elected officials the ability to hold the company accountable.

She said she disagreed with critics that Facebook is fueling the hate, mostly blaming social issues and arguing that the company is using artificial intelligence to remove content that is divisive or polarizing.

“Did you say Facebook doesn’t incite hatred?” Collins asked.

“Right,” Davis said, adding, “I can’t say we never recommended what you might consider hate. What I can say is that we have an AI designed to detect hate speech. “

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She declined to say how much dangerous content these artificial intelligence systems can detect.

Facebook informant Frances Haugen told a UK committee this week that the company’s systems exacerbate hate online and that it has little incentive to tackle the problem.

She said it takes little time to regulate social media companies that use artificial intelligence systems to determine what content people see.

Haugen was a Facebook data scientist who copied internal research documents and turned them over to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. They were also leaked to a media group including the Associated Press, which has reported numerous stories of Facebook prioritizing profit over safety and hiding its own research from investors and the public.

In one of several discussions Thursday in front of a parliamentary committee, Scottish lawmaker John Nicholson told Davis that “this is more about Facebook being an abusive broker who only responds when you’re threatened, whether it’s terrible publicity or something like that.” companies like Apple. that threaten you financially. “

Legislators have demanded that Facebook provide its data to independent researchers who can find out how harmful their products may be. Facebook has said it has privacy concerns about how such data will be transferred.

“Facebook has no right to set parameters for research,” said Collins, chairman of the committee.

The UK Internet Safety Bill calls on the regulator to ensure that technology companies comply with regulations requiring them to remove dangerous or harmful content, or face fines of up to 10% of annual global revenue.

UK lawmakers are still grappling with thorny issues such as ensuring privacy and free speech and defining legal but harmful content, including online bullying and self-harm propaganda. They are also trying to deal with the misinformation that is rampant on social media.

Representatives from Google and its YouTube video service, who spoke to UK lawmakers on Thursday, called for changes to what they called an overly broad definition of online harm. They also appeared virtually, and the tone of the lawmakers’ questions was not as harsh as Facebook.

Nation World News Desk
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