Hard hitting UK report on fake news focuses on Facebook
The final report in the UK of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news has accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections, reports the Guardian. “Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day,” warned the committee’s chairman, Damian Collins. The report accuses Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee’s questions, and warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to interference by hostile foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government attempting to discredit democracy. It also calls on the British government to establish an independent investigation into “foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 general election. The report also calls for a compulsory code of ethics for tech companies overseen by an independent regulator; the regulator should be given powers to launch legal action against companies breaching the code; government to reform current electoral communications laws and rules on overseas involvement in UK elections; and social media companies should be obliged to take down known sources of harmful content, including proven sources of disinformation. Read more and report at here.
- Tuesday, 19 February 2019