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Facebook Allows French Regulars To Oversee Hate Speech Control

France's use of embedded regulators is modeled on what happens in its banking and nuclear industries.

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Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, digital
A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

Facebook will allow French regulators to “embed” inside the company to examine how it combats online hate speech, the first time the wary tech giant has opened its doors in such a way, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

From January, Macron’s administration will send a small team of senior civil servants to the company for six months to verify Facebook’s goodwill and determine whether its checks on racist, sexist or hate-fueled speech could be improved.

“It’s a first,” Macron told the annual Internet Governance Forum in Paris. “I’m delighted by this very innovative experimental approach,” he said. “It’s an experiment, but a very important first step in my view.”

The trial project is an example of what Macron has called “smart regulation,” something he wants to extend to other tech leaders such as Google, Apple and Amazon.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace after the “Tech for Good” summit, in Paris, France. VOA

The move follows a meeting with Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg in May, when Macron invited the CEOs of some of the biggest tech firms to Paris, telling them they should work for the common good.

The officials may be seconded from the telecoms regulator and the interior and justice ministries, a government source said. Facebook said the selection was up to the French presidency.

It is unclear whether the group will have access to highly-sensitive material such as Facebook’s algorithms or codes to remove hate speech. It could travel to Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin and global base in Menlo Park, California, if necessary, the company said.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“The best way to ensure that any regulation is smart and works for people is by governments, regulators and businesses working together to learn from each other and explore ideas,” Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister who is now head of Facebook’s global affairs, said in a statement.

France’s approach to hate speech has contrasted sharply with Germany, Europe’s leading advocate of privacy.

Also Read: Online Hate Thriving Even After The Recent Hate Crime in The U.S.

Since January, Berlin has required sites to remove banned content within 24 hours or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($56 million). That has led to accusations of censorship.

France’s use of embedded regulators is modeled on what happens in its banking and nuclear industries.

“[Tech companies] now have the choice between something that is smart but intrusive and regulation that is wicked and plain stupid,” a French official said. (VOA)

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Facebook Suspends 3 Pages Linked to Russian Government

Maffick's videos are generally critical of US foreign policy and the mainstream American media, while largely avoiding criticism of the Russian government.

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Three video-centric pages run by a viral video company – Maffick Media – have been suspended from Facebook because they failed to properly disclose their ties with Russia, the media reported.

Ruptly, a subsidiary of the state-run RT (formerly Russia Today) which is funded by the Russian government, has a 51 per cent stake in Maffick Media.

“People connecting with Pages shouldn’t be misled about who’s behind them. Just as we’ve stepped up our enforcement of coordinated inauthentic behaviour and financially motivated spam over the past year, we’ll continue improving so people can get more information about the Pages they follow,” CNN quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying on Friday.

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Facebook suspends 3 pages linked to Russian government. Pixabay

Facebook has suspended the pages intending to reach out to their admins, demanding them to disclose where the pages have been running from and their affiliation with their parent company in order to get back on the platform.

Designed to appeal to millennials, videos on these pages have collected tens of millions of views on Facebook but the pages do not disclose that they are backed by the Russian government, CNN reported.

Maffick’s videos are generally critical of US foreign policy and the mainstream American media, while largely avoiding criticism of the Russian government.

Facebook, Suspends
Facebook has suspended the pages intending to reach out to their admins, demanding them to disclose where the pages have been running from. VOA

“The move was an unusual one for Facebook since the company does not require users to provide information about parent companies, but it is rolling out ways to try to increase transparency about who runs popular Facebook pages and it has been taking aggressive steps to tackle covert government-backed information operations on its service,” CNN added.

ALSO READ: Study Finds, Statins Can Prevent Neurological Disorder Development

Unlike YouTube, Facebook does not have a policy of labelling state-sponsored media on the platform, but according to the report, it is considering transparency options that could help address the issue. (IANS)