Facebook acts like ‘digital gangster’: UK lawmakers

By Anuj Sharma - February 19, 2019
While Facebook praised itself for the recent changes it has made in its platform to limit the spread of false news and misinformation and bringing unprecedented transparency to political advertising, ....

Facebook said that it is ready to face ‘meaningful regulation’ after the UK lawmakers accused the social media giant to act like a "digital gangster" which has knowingly violated data privacy laws and has helped Russian ads to spread misinformation during elections.

‘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," said the report by the UK House of Commons committee.

"Facebook's handling of personal data, and its use for political campaigns, are prime and legitimate areas for inspection by regulators, and it should not be able to evade all editorial responsibility for the content shared by its users across its platforms," the report added.

‘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 authorized, 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,’ Facebook said in a response.

Facebook which now has over 2.32 billion users globally, has been facing intense outage from people and various lawmakers over the data breaches including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein data of about 87 million users was illegally accessed and later sold by the political consulting firm.

During the 18-month-long investigation, Facebook CEO was summoned to appear and testify before the committee three times, but he didn't show up once. Committee Chair Damian Collins, said that Facebook did not fully cooperate with the investigation.

‘Facebook has often deliberately sought to frustrate our work, by giving incomplete, disingenuous and at times misleading answers to our questions,’ Collins added.

In 2018, Collins released a series of confidential documents and emails exchanged between Facebook and other tech companies that raise concerns on how Facebook handles user data.


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