British parliament: Facebook not doing enough to be transparent

British parliament: Facebook not doing enough to be transparent
© Greg Nash

Members of the British Parliament have recommended in a report set to publish Sunday that the U.K. impose regulations on social media giants such as Facebook to protect democracy and the personal information of U.K. citizens.

The Associated Press reports that the House of Commons’ media committee recommended to increase the power of the country's Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates social media companies, as well as forcing increased transparency from social media companies regarding political advertisements.

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The report also urges the government to update electoral laws to reflect digital campaign strategies, and create a new designation for tech companies outside "publisher" and "platform" that allows for more targeted regulation of the tech giants.

Lawmakers involved in the report slammed Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Facebook to launch Fourth of July voter registration drive Hillicon Valley: Facebook claims it 'does not profit from hate' in open letter | Analysis finds most of Facebook's top advertisers have not joined boycott | Research finds Uighurs targeted by Chinese spyware as part of surveillance campaign MORE for refusing to appear for testimony before Parliament, and accused company representatives of being “unwilling or unable to give full answers to the committee’s questions.”

“The light of transparency must be allowed to shine on their operations and they must be made responsible, and liable, for the way in which harmful and misleading content is shared on their sites,” committee chair Damian Collins said in a statement, according to the AP.

Collins added that the discoveries so far of how Facebook users' data had been collected by political data firms was likely just the "tip of the iceberg."

“I believe what we have discovered so far is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. "The ever-increasing sophistication of these campaigns, which will soon be helped by developments in augmented reality technology, make [more regulation] an urgent necessity.”

Facebook was heavily criticized earlier this year when it revealed that tens of millions of users had their personal data obtained without their knowledge or consent by Cambridge Analytica, the firm that went on to be used by the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

The firm denied that it used any of the data in its dealings with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE's campaign, but was forced to close over the controversy.

Zuckerberg testified before a House committee in April for 10 hours of combined testimony over the platform's use by Russian operatives to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and insisted that his company is doing sufficient work to prevent future abuses.