Fake news on sites like Facebook causing crisis in democracy, say MPs

Fake news on sites like Facebook causing crisis in democracy, say MPs

Fake news on sites like Facebook causing crisis in democracy, say MPs

It also renewed calls for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the committee to answer "questions to which Facebook has not responded adequately", after he neglected to appear following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

But the report is set to spark a major row with Brexit campaigners, whose activities on social media are likely to come under scrutiny.

It also proposes measures to combat election interference.

Members of the British Parliament have recommended in a report set to publish Sunday that the United Kingdom impose regulations on social media giants such as Facebook to protect democracy and the personal information of United Kingdom citizens.

The findings were made in an interim report, with the full report due in the autumn. They have argued that they are not responsible for the content people post on their services.

Other recommendations include government standards for impartiality and accuracy like those applied to traditional broadcasters, a new tax on tech firms to pay for greater oversight and the levying of heftier fines related to the mishandling of data along with the spread of disinformation. It pointed out that "t$3 hey continually change what is and is not seen on their sites, based on algorithms and human intervention" and that "t$3 hey reward what is most engaging, because engagement is part of their business model and their growth strategy".

The social media giants are set to face criticism for trying to "hide behind" claims they have no role in regulating the contents of their sites. "They have profited greatly by using this model".

The inquiry into fake news by the digital, culture, media and sport select committee says electoral law needs to be updated and tech companies need to do more to stop malicious propaganda on their networks.

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According to the draft version of the report leaked last night by Former Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings, MPs are set to demand for these firms to be made legally liable for any harmful and illegal content published on their platforms.

When the report is officially released Sunday, Facebook is expected to say that the parliamentary committee raises important issues, that the company agrees political advertising should be fair and transparent, and that Facebook will work closely with the British government to develop transparency tools.

Facebook, Google and Twitter could be hit with new taxes to help fight the online battle against fake news.

By the end of the day Thursday, Bloomberg had reported that the social network had suffered the largest-ever stock market loss in value during a single day for any U.S. company - as much as $124 billion.

It also said security mechanisms and algorithms used by social networks should be available for audit by a government regulator, to ensure they are "operating responsibly".

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has been a damaging one for Facebook. "It is as if it thinks that the problem will go away if it does not share information about the problem, and reacts only when it is pressed", the report said.

"Despite nobody ever producing any evidence for Carole (Cadwalladr - British investigative journalist)'s original loony conspiracy theory that I was secretly coordinating with Arron Banks, Bannon and Robert Mercer, the Committee also asks for yet another inquiry of this and of course they want the police involved to give credibility to their fantasies and legitimise their campaign for a second referendum".

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie and Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix were among the 61 witnesses that gave evidence.

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