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MIT Technology Review

A UK parliamentary committee has accused Facebook of being “digital gangsters”

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A new, independent regulator should oversee tech companies and ensure they abide by a compulsory ethics code, a UK parliamentary committee has concluded.

Digital gangsters: The 108-page report into disinformation singled Facebook out for criticism. It said the company “intentionally and knowingly” violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws and called for further investigation into its business practices. It claimed Facebook refuses to deal with abusive or misleading accounts, and deliberately obstructed the committee’s work. “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 committee said.

New regulations: The report calls for a range of measures, including the following …

  • A compulsory code of ethics for tech companies, enforced by an independent regulator with powers to launch legal action if the code is broken.
  • Reform to electoral laws and rules on overseas involvement in UK elections.
  • A requirement that social-media firms remove known sources of harmful content and disinformation.

What’s next? Damian Collins, chair of the committee, said that he and lawmakers from nine countries (who agreed to cooperate on social-media regulation last year) will meet again in May.

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