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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Tech Crunch: UK sets out safety-focused plan to regulate internet firms

The UK government has laid out proposals to regulate online and social media platforms, setting out the substance of its long-awaited White Paper on online harms today — and kicking off a public consultation.

The Online Harms White Paper is a joint proposal from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Home Office. The paper can be read in full here (PDF).

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