European politicians name for Facebook investigation after whistleblower revelation


BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Two members of the European parliament have known as for an investigation into allegations by a whistleblower that Facebook (FB.O) prioritised income above the general public good.

The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who had labored as a product supervisor on the civic misinformation group at Facebook, shared inside paperwork with newspapers and attorneys common from a number of U.S. states. learn extra

A press release from European Parliament lawmakers mentioned they have been requesting additional investigations into the revelations.

“The Facebook Files – and the revelations that the whistleblower has presented to us – underscores just how important it is that we do not let the large tech companies regulate themselves,” mentioned Danish lawmaker Christel Schaldemose.

Schaldemose is the lead rapporteur for the Digital Services Act, introduced by the European Commission in December final yr that requires tech firms to do extra to sort out unlawful content material.

“The documents finally put all the facts on the table to allow us to adopt a stronger Digital Services Act,” Alexandra Geese, a German lawmaker on the European parliament, mentioned.

“We need to regulate the whole system and the business model that favours disinformation and violence over factual content – and enables its rapid dissemination,” she mentioned.

Both Geese and Schaldemose mentioned they’re in contact with Haugen.

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

“But we should not be making these decisions on our own … we’ve been advocating for updated regulations where democratic governments set industry standards to which we can all adhere.”

European Union regulators have been contemplating whether or not all on-line platforms, or solely bigger ones or these at explicit danger of publicity to unlawful actions by their customers, must be subjected to take-down notices, and the way prescriptive these must be.

“Our position is clear: the power of major platforms over public debate and social life must be subject to democratically validated rules, in particular on transparency and accountability,” an European Commission spokesperson mentioned when requested concerning the allegations towards Facebook.

Tech firms have mentioned it was unfair and never technically possible for them to police the web. The present EU e-commerce directive says middleman service suppliers play a technical, automated and passive position.

Haugen will testify earlier than an U.S. Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, and is anticipated to talk on the Web Summit convention in Portugal in early November.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Bussels, Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Catarina Demony in Lisbon. Editing by Jane Merriman

Facebook logo in 3D in front of the EU flag, May 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is interviewed by Scott Pelley for a CBS News 60 Minutes program in an undated photograph.  Robert Fortunato for CBS News/60MINUTES/Handout via REUTERS