UK MPs have declared Facebook needs stricter regulation, with “tough and urgent action” necessary to end the spread of disinformation on its platform.
The Commons media select committee has concluded that Mark Zuckerberg failed to show “leadership or personal responsibility” over fake news.
Facebook welcomed the committee’s report and said it would be open to “meaningful regulation”.
MPs said that what was needed to deal with the proliferation of disinformation online and the misuse of personal data was a “radical shift in the balance of power between social media platforms and the people”.
“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,” concluded the report. “The big tech companies are failing in the duty of care they owe to their users to act against harmful content, and to respect their data privacy rights.”
The report called for:
Facebook responded: “We share the committee’s concerns about false news and election integrity and are pleased to have made a significant contribution to their investigation over the past 18 months, answering more than 700 questions and with four of our most senior executives giving evidence. We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee’s recommendation for electoral law reform. But we’re not waiting. We have already made substantial changes so that every political ad on Facebook has to be authorised, state who is paying for it and then is stored in a searchable archive for seven years. No other channel for political advertising is as transparent and offers the tools that we do.”
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