by UNTV News | Posted on Monday, 18 February 2019 09:38 AM
LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook and other big tech companies should be subject to a compulsory code of ethics to tackle the spread of fake news, the abuse of users’ data and the bullying of smaller firms, British lawmakers said on Monday.
In a damning report that singled out Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for what it said was a failure of leadership and personal responsibility, the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the companies had proved ineffective in stopping harmful content and disinformation on their platforms.
“The guiding principle of the ‘move fast and break things’ culture often seems to be that it is better to apologize than ask permission,” committee chairman Damian Collins said.
“We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people.”
Collins said the age of inadequate self-regulation must come to an end.
“The rights of the citizen need to be established in statute, by requiring the tech companies to adhere to a code of conduct written into law by Parliament, and overseen by an independent regulator,” he said.
Facebook became the focus of the committee’s 18-month inquiry after whistleblower Christopher Wylie alleged that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had obtained the data of millions of users of the social network.
Zuckerberg apologized last year for a “breach of trust” over the scandal.
But he refused to appear three times before British lawmakers, a stance that showed “contempt” toward parliament and the members of nine legislatures from around the world, the committee said.
“We believe that in its evidence to the committee Facebook has often deliberately sought to frustrate our work, by giving incomplete, disingenuous and at times misleading answers to our questions,” Collins said.
“Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of one of the world’s biggest companies.”
The lawmaker identified major threats to society from the dominance of tech companies such as Facebook – which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram – Google and Twitter.
Democracy was at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalized adverts from unidentifiable sources, they said, and social media platforms were failing to act against harmful content and respect the privacy of users.
Companies like Facebook were also using their size to bully smaller firms that relied on social media platforms to reach customers, it added.
by UNTV News | Posted on Monday, 4 February 2019 09:09 AM
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has removed hundreds of Indonesian accounts, pages and groups from its social network after discovering they were linked to an online group accused of spreading hate speech and fake news.
Indonesian police uncovered the existence of the group, called Saracen, in 2016 and arrested three of its members on suspicion of being part of a syndicate being paid to spread incendiary material online through social media.
“These accounts and pages were actively working to conceal what they were doing and were linked to the Saracen Group, an online syndicate in Indonesia,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, said on Friday.
“They have using deceptive messaging and… networks of concealed pages and accounts to drive often divisive narratives over key issues of public debates in Indonesia,” Gleicher told Reuters in an interview.
The world’s largest social network has been under pressure from regulators around the globe to fight spread of misinformation on its platform. In January, it announced two new regional operations centers focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices.
Indonesia is currently in the run-up to a presidential election set to take place in April, with internet watchdogs flagging the impact of fake news as a concern.
Indonesia is estimated to be Facebook’s third largest markets, with over a 100 million users.
Indonesia’s police cyber crime unit has previously told Reuters that Saracen was posting material involving religious and ethnic issues, as well as fake news and posts that defamed government officials.
The country has an ethnically diverse population of 260 million people, with a big majority of Muslims but with significant religious minorities, and ensuring unity across the archipelago has been a priority of governments.
Gleicher said Facebook’s investigation found Saracen agents would target and compromise accounts, but stressed the removal of the accounts was due to “coordinated deceptive behavior (by Saracen)… not due to the content they had shared”.
The pages and accounts deleted had 170,000 followers on Facebook and more than 65,000 on Instagram, but the reach of the people exposed to the content is believed to be higher.
Police alleged there were financial links between Saracen and a handful of organizers of 2016 protests against the former governor of Jakarta, who was condemned for blasphemy after a doctored video of supposed anti-Islam comments went viral.
However, the Indonesian supreme court ruled in April 2018 that Saracen had not been guilty of spreading hate speech and that the police’s case could not be proven.
A national police spokesman said they were continuing to monitor Saracen’s social media activity and would ask Facebook for the data from their investigation.
A lawyer for Jasriadi, whom prosecutors allege was one of the masterminds of the Indonesian syndicate, said “that based on the facts of the case and our hearing, there remains no evidence that Saracen exists”.
Reporting by Fanny Potkin; additional reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Editing by Ed Davies, Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry
by admin | Posted on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 09:26 AM
Still of empty Zuckerberg chair and international lawyers | REUTERS
Facebook came under fire on Tuesday (November 27) from lawmakers from several countries who accused the firm of undermining democratic institutions and lambasted chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for not answering questions on the matter.
Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher, drawing attention to the use of data analytics in politics.
Concerns over the social media giant’s practices, the role of political adverts and possible interference in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. elections are among the topics being investigated by British and European regulators.
While Facebook says it complies with EU data protection laws, a special hearing of lawmakers from several countries around the world in London criticized Zuckerberg for declining to appear himself to answer questions on the topic.
Richard Allan, the vice president of policy solutions at Facebook who appeared in Zuckerberg’s stead, admitted Facebook had made mistakes but said it had accepted the need to comply with data rules.
Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used its platform to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.
Campaign group Avaaz held a stunt outside parliament, where a campaigner posed for photographs wearing a large fake head depicting Zuckerberg. — Reuters
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