The UK government thinks it's time for Facebook to be regulated

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

'Social media companies can not hide behind the claim of being merely a "platform" and maintain that they have no responsibility themselves in regulating the content of their sites, ' the report reads.

Mark Zuckerberg was also accused of "contempt towards both the UK Parliament and the International Grand Committee', by choosing not to appear before the Committee and by choosing not to respond personally to its invitations, instead sending juniors who were incompetent of answering its questions".

Parliament lawmakers reviewed a series of internal Facebook documents they obtained late a year ago from Six4Three, an app developer that filed a lawsuit against Facebook in the United States in 2015.

Facebook has taken "aggressive positions" against direct competitors, leading to data access denial - or acquisitions.

"The process should establish clear, legal liability for tech companies to act against agreed harmful and illegal content on their platform", the report said.

"The Cambridge Analytica scandal was facilitated by Facebook's policies", the report said.

Across Europe, regulators have called for probes into Facebook, which is being investigated in U.S.by the Federal Trade Commission.

A special committee said that the founder of the social media network Mark Zuckerberg did not show "leadership or personal responsibility" in dealing with the issue of fake news being spread on his platform. "But I think the year ahead has to be a year of action". Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright told Andrew Marr this weekend that he "expects" to meet Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg next week, to talk about regulation of social media companies. British lawmakers were particularly unnerved that Russian agents had weaponized Facebook and other online platforms to spread falsehoods during the USA election in 2016 and the United Kingdom referendum on European Union membership that same year.

More EU-UK Brexit talks set after Cox sets out backstop changes
On Tuesday, Cox is due to set out what changes would be required to eliminate that risk. "Later this week I will travel to Brussels to discuss it with Michel Barnier and others".

"The big tech companies must not be allowed to expand exponentially, without constraint or proper regulatory oversight".

The report accuses Facebook's CEO of "contempt" after he failed to show up to give evidence to a British parliamentary committee. "We are left with the impression that either Simon Milner and Mike Schroepfer deliberately misled the Committee or they were deliberately not briefed by senior executives at Facebook about the extent of Russian interference in foreign elections".

U.S senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill last month aimed at giving Americans more control over data collected by online companies like Facebook and Alphabet's Google. Facebook's leaders previously have said they were transparent about such practices, which date back to 2013.

CNBC said: "Lawmakers also published new internal Facebook emails on Monday related to a California lawsuit between Facebook and app developer Six4Three".

Those documents also reveal the thinking at Facebook as executives changed rules beginning in 2014 to cut off developers' access to users' posts, photos and other profile information.

The committee's final report into disinformation and fake news also said electoral law was "not fit for purpose" and should be updated to reflect the move to "microtargeted" online political campaigning.

"As a result of this law, one in six of Facebook's moderators now works in Germany, which is practical evidence that legislation can work", said the report.

"Even if Mark Zuckerberg doesn't believe he is accountable to the UK Parliament, he is to the billions of Facebook users across the world", the committee wrote. The independent regulator would have statutory powers to monitor relevant tech companies; this would create a regulatory system for online content that is as effective as that for offline content industries.

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