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Facebook is out of control and politicians have no idea what to do • The Guardian
Simon Jenkins:
<p>Some of the report’s accusations are astonishing. Facebook “purposefully obstructed” the committee. Its boss, Mark Zuckerberg, who “continues to choose profit over data security,” held parliament in contempt. His rambling empire is portrayed as lying, thieving “digital gangsterism”. Yet British electoral law is puny. It is “unfit for purpose,” leaving elections “vulnerable to foreign influence, disinformation and voter manipulation”. Not a week passes without evidence that cybersecurity is inadequate and public services have been left vulnerable to hacking.

So far, so familiar, as are the report’s proposals: the usual comfort blankets of a code of ethics, an independent regulator and “more transparency”. We have sought them for a decade and still not found them. The real question is, why not? What are the pressures, who are the lobbyists, why the inertia? As over Brexit, parliament is fine at demolition, hopeless at construction. The spirit fails at the door marked Something Must Be Done.

The Germans are so ahead of Britain that they have Facebook staff fact-checking frantically, taking down material. America is steeling itself for a monopoly-busting assault on Silicon Valley. The Russians are running wild round the regulators. The Chinese are pioneering web “repatriation”, in effect blocking anything they consider unsuitable. Much of this is not nice for purists, but it must be full of lessons. The running joke among social media pundits is that regulation is so far behind technology – and profit – as to be out of sight.

We still await a legal declaration that social media platforms are publishers not “conduits”. That has to be rubbish. Copyright on the internet is where it was for the printed word in the 19th century, which was nowhere until the law caught up. Attempts to tax and fine social media operators fall foul of the scandalous indulgence of tax shelters. Those who do not pay taxes where they live should not be allowed to live there, period.</p>


Once he gets onto a topic, Jenkins goes through it at a gallop. You can <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/1791/1791.pdf">read the full DCMS report on Facebook</a>. The evidence includes a ton of hyperlinks - including <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/culture-media-and-sport/Note-by-Chair-and-selected-documents-ordered-from-Six4Three.pdf">a tranche of Six4Three emails</a>, crucial to some of the adverse findings about Facebook.
facebook  dcms  parliament 
2 days ago by charlesarthur
Labour split: The head says no, the heart says yes
But there was something else. For the first time in a long time MPs were standing up and speaking something resembling the truth. The party system was not reflecting the realities of the political moment we're living in. Something had to give. The status quo could not be changed by allowing it to continue.

Even the most positive developments over the last few years, like Keir Starmer gradually shifting the Labour position on Brexit into something remotely credible, have taken place in a mercurial world of post-truth politics, in which coded messages on things like free movement are issued in order to keep the broad church of the party together. On the less favourable end, the government acts seemingly without any commitment at all to accuracy. Brexit supporters on the Tory benches have made lying a core mechanism of political debate.

But now a group of MPs were standing up, with all the risk it entailed, and stating clearly and without equivocation the way they saw things. At certain moments, it felt like you'd seen a pool of water after trekking through a desert.
¶¶
Perhaps it might even work for fighting Brexit. Who knows? It's as possible as any other development. The real threat of other Labour MPs leaving could scare the leadership into shifting on a People's Vote. There is now at least a strong argument that refusing another referendum is actually hurting Labour's ability to form a government. And it leaves anti-Brexit figures inside the party, like David Lammy, acting as good cop to the splitters' bad cop. After all, the existing strategy wasn't working. Why not shift things up?
by:IanDunt  from:Politics.co.uk  TheIndependentGroup  ChukaUmunna  LucianaBerger  MikeGapes  antisemitism  Labour  parliament  geo:UnitedKingdom  politics 
2 days ago by owenblacker
The Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism - GOV.UK
This independent report presents an overview of challenges facing high quality journalism in the UK, putting forward recommendations to help secure its future.
government  parliament  publishing  politics  journalism  technology  media  news  culture  policy  document  review  westminster  london 
3 days ago by asaltydog
The Independent Group
Are you tired of Britain's broken politics? The Independent Group of MPs resigned from their traditional Westminster parties to seek an alternative. Join the movement for change.
government  parliament  politics  social  policy  alternative  westminster  london 
3 days ago by asaltydog
Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final Report published - News from Parliament - UK Parliament
Calls for:
- Compulsory Code of Ethics for tech companies overseen by independent regulator
- Regulator given powers to launch legal action against companies breaching code
- Government to reform current electoral communications laws and rules on overseas involvement in UK elections
- Social media companies obliged to take down known sources of harmful content, including proven sources of disinformation
ethics  facebook  socialmedia  disinformation  publishing  technology  parliament  DCMS  democracy 
3 days ago by corrickwales

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