“Companies like Facebook should not behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world,” says a British parliamentary report.

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In the opinion of the British Parliament, Facebook “deliberately and knowingly” violated data protection and competition law. In a report released Monday, MEPs in London are calling for social media companies to take responsibility for content shared on their sites. “Companies like Facebook should not behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world,” the Guardian quotes from the report.

Since 2017, parliamentarians have sometimes explored the role of “fake news” in the US election campaign and the Brexit referendum. The report also covers the data scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica. In that case, about five years ago, the developer of a survey app shared information from tens of millions of Facebook users with the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica. The parliamentary report now states that Facebook is ready to override its users’ privacy settings in order to share data with app developers.

The parliamentarians demand a binding code of conduct on the basis of which technology companies have to act against “harmful and illegal content” on their sites. An independent regulator should monitor this and impose heavy fines if companies did not comply, according to the report of the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

MEPs accuse Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg also “disrespect” of the British Parliament because he had refused to testify there to deal with his company with user data. The committee had asked Zuckerberg to appear in person as part of the data scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica.

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