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British Mps Brand Facebook ‘Digital Gangsters’ Who Spread Fake News

Facebook Overhaul Favours Friends Over News, Adverts
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A scathing British parliamentary report on Monday branded Facebook “digital gangsters” who failed to fight the spread of fake news and violated data privacy.
Lawmakers’ 18-month investigation into technology companies and disinformation also accused the world’s largest social media platform of trying to hide the extent of Russian interference in foreign elections.
Facebook is coming under attack over its response to Russia’s suspected use of misleading stories and targeted ads to sway the 2016 US presidential election and a series of European votes.
Its executives have further been accused of trying to either hide or suppress emerging evidence of foreign meddling flagged by its engineers.
Parliamentary committee chair Damian Collins said Facebook “deliberately sought to frustrate our work by giving incomplete, disingenuous and at times misleading answers to our questions”.
Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg turned down three requests to appear before the committee.
“Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the 108-page report said.
Liable for content
Collins told AFP he hoped “that before the end of the year, there could be a firm proposal for legislation” establishing how such an oversight body would work.
“This ends the idea that tech companies are just platforms, that they are independent and that the responsibility for the content lies solely on the person who posted it,” Collins said in a phone interview.
“They have limited liability for the content that has been posted there. They are not neutral. They curate the space, they promote content toward users.”
Facebook spokesman Karim Palant said executives at the California-based company “share the committee’s concerns about false news and election integrity.”
“We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee’s recommendation for electoral law reform,” Palant said in a statement.
But Collins said Facebook has only adopted incremental policy changes that were mostly aimed at fending off regulation making it liable for the spread of malicious stories.
“They have taken a step, largely I think, to offset legislation,” said Collins.

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