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European politicians call for Facebook investigation after whistleblower disclosure By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken on March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration // File Photo / File Photo

BRUSSELS / STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Two members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation into allegations by a whistleblower that Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 prioritized profits over the public good.

The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who had worked as a product manager on the civic disinformation team at Facebook, shared internal documents with newspapers and attorneys general in various US states.

A statement by lawmakers in the European Parliament said they were calling for further investigation into the disclosures.

“The Facebook files, and the disclosures the whistleblower has presented to us, underscore how important it is that we do not allow big tech companies to regulate themselves,” said Danish lawmaker Christel Schaldemose.

Schaldemose is the lead rapporteur for the Digital Services Act, announced by the European Commission in December last year that requires tech companies to do more to tackle illegal content.

“The documents finally put all the facts on the table to allow us to adopt a stronger Digital Services Law,” said Alexandra Geese, a German lawmaker in the European Parliament.

“We need to regulate the entire system and the business model that favors disinformation and violence on factual content and allows its rapid dissemination,” he said.

Both Geese and Schaldemose said they are in contact with Haugen.

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

“But we shouldn’t make these decisions on our own … we have been advocating for updated regulations where democratic governments set industry standards that we can all adhere to.”

Regulators in the European Union have been considering whether all online platforms, or only the largest ones or those with a particular risk of exposure to illegal activities by their users, should be subject to takedown notices and how prescriptive they should be. .

“Our position is clear: the power of the main platforms over public debate and social life must be subject to democratically validated rules, in particular on transparency and accountability,” said a spokesman for the European Commission when asked about the allegations. against Facebook.

Tech companies have said https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-tech-regulations-idUSKBN22W2Q7 that it was unfair and technically not feasible for them to police the Internet. The current EU e-commerce directive says that intermediary service providers play a technical, automatic and passive role.

Haugen will testify before a US Senate subcommittee on Tuesday and is expected to speak at the Web Summit conference in Portugal in early November.

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