Illegal content: Facebook wants more responsibilities

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Photo: Getty images)

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday called on US lawmakers to impose more responsibility on digital platforms like his in terms of the management of illegal content, the day before a parliamentary hearing alongside Twitter and Google on the role of social networks in disinformation.

“Whatever their political opinions, people want to make sure that companies take responsibility for fighting illegal content and activities on their platforms,” the founder of the tech giant acknowledged in his opening remarks, published on the website of the Commission on Energy and Trade.

Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai (Google) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) are convened Thursday by this commission to answer questions from elected officials on the problem of disinformation, after years of tension on the subject and especially months of false rumors and false content during the pandemic and the American presidential election.

They will evoke in particular “Section 230”, the law of 1996 which protects Internet hosts from lawsuits related to contents published by third parties, the cornerstone of social networks that many politicians want to reform.

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey have conceded in the past that the law could be amended, while stressing the risks of negative consequences for the internet.

“Instead of having immunity, platforms should be forced to prove that they have systems in place to identify illegal content and remove it,” Mark Zuckerberg detailed in his remarks.

According to him, this would make it possible to “subordinate the legal protections” of digital companies to “their ability to fight in the best possible way the propagation of this content”.

But he notes that “if specific content escapes detection,” the platform concerned should not be held responsible, as no company is able to guarantee full control over the billions of messages, links, videos and photos published each. day.

According to him, companies should just “have adequate systems in place”, “proportional to the size of the platform” and “determined by a third party”, so that large players are not advantaged over start-ups.

The measures of social networks against disinformation are considered largely insufficient by many elected officials (especially Democrats) and civil society organizations.

“For too long, the tech giants have refused to recognize the role they have played in fabricating and spreading false information to their audiences. Self-regulation of the industry has failed, ”said the parliamentary committee in its convening of the three bosses.


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