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Facebook Cannot Regulate Itself: U.S. Lawmakers

Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public.

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Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., center, talks with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., right, during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill. VOA

Democratic U.S. Representative David Cicilline, expected to become the next chairman of House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said on Wednesday that Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself and Congress should take action.

Cicilline, citing a report in the New York Times on Facebook’s efforts to deal with a series of crises, said on Twitter: “This staggering report makes clear that @Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers.”

“It is long past time for us to take action,” he said. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said a year ago that the company would put its “community” before profit, and it has doubled its staff focused on safety and security issues since then. Spending also has increased on developing automated tools to catch propaganda and material that violates the company’s posting policies.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Other initiatives have brought increased transparency about the administrators of pages and purchasers of ads on Facebook. Some critics, including lawmakers and users, still contend that Facebook’s bolstered systems and processes are prone to errors and that only laws will result in better performance. The New York Timessaid Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, ignored warning signs that the social media company could be “exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.” And when the warning signs became evident, they “sought to conceal them from public view.”

“We’ve known for some time that @Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform,” said Cicilline, who will likely take the reins of the subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law when the new, Democratic-controlled Congress is seated in January.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

“Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using a playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories,” he said.

“Next January, Congress should get to work enacting new laws to hold concentrated economic power to account, address the corrupting influence of corporate money in our democracy, and restore the rights of Americans,” Cicilline said. (VOA)

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Social Media Main News Source For Young Indians: Report

More than half of the respondents said they fear openly expressing their political views online could get them into trouble with authorities

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The social media giant may face similar questions from lawmakers in other countries in the coming days. Pixabay

Online news generally and social media specifically have outpaced print as the main source of news among English-speaking young Indian news users, showed a new report.

People over 35 still mix online and offline media to a great extent, according to the Oxford University’s Reuters Institute India Digital News Report.

While more than half of respondents in the study reported getting news from social media, a quarter identified social media as their main source of online news.

Facebook and WhatsApp are particularly widely used, with 75 per cent of respondents using Facebook (and 52 per centsaying they get news there), and 82 per cent using WhatsApp (with 52 per cent getting news there).

Other social media widely used for news include Instagram, Twitter and Facebook’s Messenger – whereas Snapchat is much less widely used.

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Social media platforms such as Facebook, its unit WhatsApp and Twitter are extensively being used by Indian politicians for campaigning ahead of the election: Facebook’s 300 million users and WhatsApp’s 200 million have made India their largest market in the world, while Twitter too has millions of users. Pixabay

Based on data from a survey of English-speaking online news users in India, the study also showed that India has emerging as an overwhelmingly mobile-first, and for many mobile-only, media market.

Nearly 70 per cent of the respondents identified smartphones as their main device for online news.

The research showed that people in India have low trust in news overall (36 per cent). But they have higher levels of trust in news in search (45 per cent) and social media (34 per cent) than respondents in many other countries.

Also Read- Possibilities of UN Banning Killer Robots Looking Growingly Remote

Nearly 60 per cent of users are worried whether online news they come across is real or fake.

More than half of the respondents said they fear openly expressing their political views online could get them into trouble with authorities, the study showed. (IANS)