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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

European politicians have called for a Facebook investigation after the release of Whistleblower

BRUSSELS / STOCKHOLM – Two members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation into allegations by Whistleblower that Facebook has made profits more important than the public good.

Whistleblower, Francis Hausen, who worked as a product manager on the Citizens Misinformation team on Facebook, shared internal documents with newspapers and the attorney general in several U.S. states.

A statement from European Parliament lawmakers said they were calling for further investigations into the revelations.

“The Facebook files – and the information that Whistleblower has provided to us – show how important it is that we do not allow large technology companies to control themselves,” said Danish lawmaker Crystal Skaldemos.

Schaldemose, chief correspondent of the Digital Services Act, announced in December last year that European companies need to do more to tackle illegal content.

“The documents finally put all the information on the table to allow us to adopt a strong digital services law,” said Alexandra Geiss, a German lawmaker in the European Parliament.

“We need to control the whole system and the business model that favors confusion and violence over real content – and enables its rapid promotion,” he said.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Hausen interviewed Scott Pelly for a CBS News Min0 minute program in an unspecified photo. (Robert Fortunato for CBS News / 60 Minutes / Handout via Reuters)

Geese and Schaldemose both said they were in contact with Haugen.

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A Facebook spokesperson said: “Every day, we make difficult decisions about where to draw the line between free speech and harmful speech, privacy, security and other issues.”

“But we should not make this decision on our own … We are speaking in favor of updated regulations where democratic governments set industry standards that we can all abide by.”

EU regulators are considering whether all online platforms, or only large platforms or their users, are at particular risk of illegal activity, and how much this should be indicative.

Asked about the allegations against Facebook, a European Commission spokesman said: “Our position is clear: the power of the main platform for public debate and social life must be subject to democratically valid rules, especially transparency and accountability.”

Tech companies say it is unfair and technically impossible for them to police the Internet. The current EU-e-commerce guidelines state that intermediary service providers play a technical, automated and passive role.

Hausen is expected to testify before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Tuesday and is expected to address a web summit in Portugal in early November.

Reuters

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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