Cannot Trust Facebook With Self Regulation: US Lawmaker

It is necessar4y for the US Congress to take action against Facebook Inc. and regulate the social media platform because the company cannot be trusted with self regulation, said Democratic U.S. Representative David Cicilline who is widely anticipated to adorn the post of the next chairman of House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel.

Putting up a report that was recently published in the New York Times about the efforts of Facebook to address a number of crisis, Cicilline took to Twitter and said: “This staggering report makes clear that @Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers.”

“It is long past time for us to take action,” he said.

There were no comments available from Facebook on the tweet.

The “community” on the Facebook would be put before profits, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had said about a year ago. He had also then announced that the number of employees who were completely focused on upholding safety and security issues had been doubled. The company had also increased investments in the development of automated tools which could itself identify malicious propaganda and material which went against the policies of the company and the social media platform.

The company has also claimed that there has been enhanced transparency related to the process of administrators of pages and individuals and institutions buying ads on Facebook because of some other initiatives that the company had taken. But the company had faced criticisms from some lawmakers and users among others who claim there are loopholes in the bolstered systems and processes of Facebook that can be violated and hence the only way of ensuring complete safety and security was through laws to get better performance.

According to the news report in New York Times, warning signs that the social media platform could be “exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe”, were ignored by Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. But they “sought to conceal them from public view” after the warning signs became evident.

“We’ve known for some time that @Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform,” said Cicilline. A large section of the American polity expect Cicilline to take over as the chief of the subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law after the swearing in of the new, Democratic-controlled Congress in January.

“Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using a playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories,” he said.

“Next January, Congress should get to work enacting new laws to hold concentrated economic power to account, address the corrupting influence of corporate money in our democracy, and restore the rights of Americans,” Cicilline said.

(Adapted form Reuters.com)

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