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Frances Haugen to testify to MPs about Facebook and online harm

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Frances Haugen to testify to MPs about Facebook and online harm

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Frances Haugen to testify to MPs about Facebook and online harm

Whistleblower and critic of Mark Zuckerberg will give evidence to MPs scrutinising the online safety bill

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies before a Senate subcommittee in Washington DC earlier

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP and chair of the joint committee, said: “Frances Haugen’s testimony so far has made it even clearer that regulatory oversight of social media platforms, from democratically elected government, is urgently needed. She will bring valuable expertise to the scrutiny process, especially as the bill should empower Ofcom to access and act on the internal research and concerns.”

A fresh wave of revelations at the weekend from a group of US news publications showed Facebook struggled to contain rightwing misinformation on its platform in the run-up to the 6 January insurrection in Washington and had been used to spread religious hatred in India. Further stories based on the documents are expected from a wider consortium on Monday.

The joint committee has also heard calls from witnesses for elements of the bill to be toughened. The information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has said Ofcom should be given auditing powers to check the inner working of tech companies, including the algorithms that help tailor the content that a user consumes. Haugen is due to speak at 2pm.

Child protection campaigners have also called for the bill to have stronger safeguards for children and criminal sanctions for executives who know that their platforms are putting young people at risk and are failing to act.

The online safety bill covers tech firms that allow users to post their own content or to interact with each other, which includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. Search engines such as Google will also be included as well as commercial pornography sites like OnlyFans and video games that allow users to talk to each other.

Facebook’s vice-president of content policy, Monika Bickert, said on Sunday that the tech industry “needs regulation” because it should not be left to make the rules on issues including harmful online content on its own.

“The UK is one of the countries leading the way with wide-ranging proposals on everything from hate speech to child safety and, while we won’t agree with all the details, we’re pleased the online safety bill is moving forward,” she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

Topics

  • Facebook
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Social networking
  • Young people
  • Children
  • Ofcom
  • news
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Published at Mon, 25 Oct 2021 05:00:30 +0000

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/oct/25/frances-haugen-to-testify-to-mps-about-facebook-and-online-harm

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