France threatens new Facebook regulations amid Zuckerberg visit
France has welcomed Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg with a threat of sweeping new regulation.
With Facebook under fire on multiple fronts, Mr Zuckerberg arrived in Paris yesterday to show his social media giant was working hard to limit violent extremism and hate speech shared online.
But a group of French regulators and experts who spent weeks inside Facebook facilities in Paris, Dublin and Barcelona say the company isn’t working hard enough.
J u s t b e f o r e Mr Z u c k e r - berg met French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the ten officials released a report calling for laws allowing the government to investigate and fine social networks that do not take responsibility for the content that makes them money.
The French government wants the legislation to serve as a model for Europe- wide management of social networks. Several countries have introduced similar legislation, some tougher than what France is proposing.
To an average user, it seems like the problem is intractable. Mass shootings are livestreamed and online mobs are spreading rumours that lead to deadly violence.
Facebook is even inadvertently creating celebratory videos using extremist content and auto- generating business pages for the likes of the Islamic State group and al- Qaida.
T h e c o mpany s ay s i t i s working on solutions and the French regulators praised Facebook for hiring more people and using artificial intelligence to track and crack down on dangerous content.
But they said Facebook did not provide the French offic i al s e nough i nf ormation about its algorithms to judge whether they were working and that a “lack of transparency ... justifies an intervention of public authorities”.
The regulators recommended legally requiring a “duty of care” for big social networks, meaning they should moderate hate speech published on their platforms.
The regulators acknowledged their research did not address violent content shared on private chat groups or encrypted apps, or on groups like 4chan or 8chan, where criminals and extremists and those concerned about privacy increasingly turn to communicate.
Facebook said Mr Zuckerberg was in France as part of meetings around Europe to discuss future regulation of the internet.
Mr Zuckerberg’s visit comes amid rising concerns about hate speech and disinformation around this month’s European Parliament elections.
Next week t he l eaders of France and New Zealand will meet tech leaders in Paris for a summit seeking to ban acts of violent extremism and terrorism from being shown online.