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Tech titans like Facebook, itself described as a "digital gangster", continually fail to address the risks their platforms pose to democracy – so the British government should regulate, MPs have said.
The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has been conducting an inquiry into "fake news" – which it acknowledged is now an inappropriate moniker – for the best part of two years.
Inquiry - Evidence - Sessions - Pieces - Evidence
The inquiry has involved 23 oral evidence sessions, received more than 170 pieces of written evidence and heard from 73 witnesses – none of whom, to the great frustration of the committee, was Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg.
The committee today published its final report, which includes 110 pages of damning criticism of Facebook's attitude to user data privacy and security, the UK's electoral laws and the current state of regulation.
Report - MPs - Call - Reforms - Laws
In the report, the MPs call for reforms to electoral laws which they say are "hopelessly out of date for the internet age", as well as an independent regulator with statutory powers over social media giants.
The document repeated many of the recommendations made in the July interim report, but the main theme is that the government needs to put a stop to tech giants' self-regulation, and rebalance the power between the platforms and the public.
Tenant - Code - Ethics - Companies - Content
A central tenant of this is a compulsory Code of Ethics that requires companies to deal with harmful and illegal content that has been referred to them by users, and content "that should have been easy for tech companies themselves to identify".
The MPs also call for greater transparency into online political campaigning – such as a searchable, public repository saying who paid for, sponsored and is targeted by each ad – and investment into digital and data literacy for the public.
Data - Privacy - Laws
'Facebook intentionally broke data privacy laws'
Beyond such recommendations are detailed discussions of the Cambridge...
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