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 ZuckerbergFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach Social media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report 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 TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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.