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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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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The Guardian: Canada may regulate social media companies to avoid election meddling

The world’s major social media companies are not doing enough to help Canada combat potential foreign meddling in this October’s elections and the government might have to regulate them, the cabinet minister in charge of ensuring a fair vote has said.

The democratic institutions minister, Karina Gould, spoke shortly after Canada’s electronic signals spy agency said it was very likely that foreign actors will try to meddle in the election.

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New York Times: Regulators Around the World Are Circling Facebook

Regulators on four continents are preparing for a long-awaited showdown with Facebook, after years of disinterest and half-steps. They largely have the same goal: changing the social media company’s behavior. Figuring out how is the hard part. Members of the Federal Trade Commission in the United States are weighing what sorts of constraints they would put on Facebook’s business practices.

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Harvard Business Review: No One Actually Knows How to Regulate the Internet

Here’s a little secret: Nobody actually knows what the economic and societal ramifications will be if the Federal Communications Commission heeds President Obama’s call to classify broadband internet as a utility (more precisely, a “telecommunications service”). You might be surprised by this if you’ve been listening for the past week to combatants on both sides declaring with seeming certainty that such a move would either save the internet or ruin it. But it’s a little like that saying about academic arguments being so vicious because the stakes are so low — here the convictions are perhaps so strong because the evidence is so inconclusive.

Wired: It’s Not Too Late For The Social Media To Regulate Itself

The crux of the problem is the opaque process that determines how algorithms curate information for billions of users. Every time someone uses search or social media services, they’re relying on a secret and proprietary algorithm tuned to maximize something—usually user engagement with the service. Transparency and accountability are largely absent.

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Cato: Why the Government Should Not Regulate Content Moderation of Social Media

Preventing harms caused by “fake news” or “hate speech” lies well beyond the jurisdiction of the government; tech firms appear determined to deal with such harms, leaving little for the government to do.

The United States highly values individual speech in the public sphere. The Constitution offers strong protections for speech in general and not just for political speech. Similarly, the right to hear the speech of others is pro­tected by the First Amendment.

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