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European politicians call for Facebook investigation after whistleblower revelation By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A 3D-printed Facebook logo can be seen on this illustration, taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo/File Photo


BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM – Two European parliament members called for an investigation by a whistleblower into the allegations that Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 placed profit above public welfare.

Frances Haugen was a whistleblower who worked on Facebook’s civic misinformation team as a product manager. She shared documents within Facebook with journalists and U.S. attorneys general.

European Parliament legislators stated that they requested further investigation into the revelations.

“The Facebook Files – and the revelations that the whistleblower has presented to us – underscores just how important it is that we do not let the large tech companies regulate themselves,” said Danish lawmaker Christel Schaldemose.

Schaldemose, the principal rapporteur of the Digital Services Act (an announcement by the European Commission last December) that requires technology companies to take more action to address illegal content.

Alexandra Geese from Germany, who is a lawmaker in Europe, stated, “The documents finally set all the facts on record to allow us adopt a more robust Digital Services Act.”

“We need to regulate the whole system and the business model that favours disinformation and violence over factual content – and enables its rapid dissemination,” she said.

Geese, Schaldemose stated that they have been in touch with Haugen.

Facebook spokesperson stated that: “Everyday, we make difficult choices about where to draw line between freedom of expression and harmful speech. Privacy and security are also important issues.”

“But we shouldn’t be making those decisions alone… we have advocated for new regulations where democratic governments set industry standard to which all of us can conform.”

European Union regulators were examining the possibility that all platforms or just larger ones, as well as those most at risk from illegal activities, should be subjected a take-down notice. They also considered how specific these notices should be.

A spokesperson for the European Commission stated, “Our position clear: The power of major platform over public discussion and social life must under go democratically validated rules, in special on transparency and accountability,” when asked about Facebook’s allegations.

Tech companies have said it was unfair and not technically feasible for them to police the internet. Current EU ecommerce directive states that intermediary services providers are technical, automated and passive.

Haugen is scheduled to testify in front of a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Tuesday.

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