The Editor: Where is the US review of ongoing programs in other countries to implement a program to regulate social media?

A number of other countries including the UK, Germany and Australia either have an ongoing program or a soon to be implemented program to regulate social media. Which federal agencies are following these real world laboratories so as to assist the US in the directions it might follow.

Thus far CRE’s inquiry concludes that the Administration is leaving such studies up to academics, NGO’s and regulatory watchdogs such as CRE.

The Editor: The Use of Guidance or Rules to Address Issues with Social Media?

     The guidance debate is moving from 30,000 feet to ground level

 

Scholars in administrative law have written on the differences between an agency issuing guidance versus rules for years.  There is no clearer statement on the subject than a recent post by Professor Strauss based in part upon a study conducted by the Administrative Conference of the United States authored by Professor Parrillo.

Forbes: Governments Can’t Regulate Social Media Because They Are Too Dependent On It

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the strange spectacle that was Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony last year was the degree to which members of the US Congress kept acknowledging Facebook’s immense sway over the democratic process and how important the site was to each of their reelection efforts. Congressperson after congressperson repeated how critical Facebook was to getting themselves elected and maintaining contact with their constituents.

 

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USA Today: Trump White House solicits examples of social media censorship

Editor’s Note:  Read about a potential Data Quality Act challenge.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained that the nation’s largest social media sites are censoring conservative voices.

Now the White House is looking for proof.

Trump administration officials posted a website on Wednesday that seeks examples of Americans being censored on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

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The Editor:  Where are the US Regulators on Regulation of Social Media?

The recent flurry of events as set forth in the posts below demonstrate the concentrated actions of a number of leading foreign governments regarding regulation of the social media. What are the views of US regulators on this topic?

We would imagine that the American public is asking the same question.  Understandably it is not as easy for the US  to come to a unified position because its regulatory regime is fragmented by the existence of two independent agencies. Nonetheless it behooves an oversight agency such as the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs located in the White House Office of Management and Budget  to focus on this issue.

Wall Street Journal: Global Regulators Race to Curb Silicon Valley

Governments are in a global race to scrutinize Silicon Valley, creating a broad regulatory wave aimed at curbing the power of a small group of American tech giants.

French government officials said Friday they plan to give regulators there sweeping power to audit and fine large social-media companies like Facebook FB -0.16% Inc. if they don’t adequately remove hateful content. Competition authorities in India, meanwhile, have launched a probe into whether Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -0.03% Google uses its mobile operating system to block rivals.

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CRE: A Forum for Policy Officials to Share Their Views.

We encourage  policy officials to express their views on the topics addressed herein. Our readers have two options for doing so, (1) there is a  comment capability in the upper right hand corner of every post, and (2) you may contact CRE staff using this address  contact@thecre.com .

Unique comments might be highlighted by our posting them on this page. See the About section for information dealing with governance of the site.

New York Times: Facebook Expects to Be Fined Up to $5 Billion by F.T.C. Over Privacy Issues

 Facebook said on Wednesday that it expected to be fined up to $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. The penalty would be a record by the agency against a technology company and a sign that the United States was willing to punish big tech companies.

The social network disclosed the amount in its quarterly financial results, saying it estimated a one-time charge of $3 billion to $5 billion in connection with an “ongoing inquiry” by the F.T.C. Facebook added that “the matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”

Atlantic Council: Is Regulation of Social Media Companies the Answer to Disinformation?

While social media companies have taken some initial steps toward tackling the problem of disinformation on their platforms, democratic governments “shouldn’t just be reliant on the fact that Facebook or Google may or may not be doing a good job” identifying or eliminating misleading or harmful content, according to UK Member of Parliament Damian Collins. Right now, Collins argued, governments “only have their word” as evidence that social media companies are adequately addressing the disinformation threat.

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Fortune: Zuckerberg Vows Facebook Will Work With Governments on Hate Speech

Facebook and other social media companies are confronting a crescendo of criticism in Europe and the U.S. over how they handle personal data, hate speech, and their vulnerability to manipulation. The rising outrage prompted Zuckerberg in March to call for government regulation of four broad areas — harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.

 

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