Facebook whistleblower praises bill for digital services in the European Parliament testimony
Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels, Frances Haugen reiterated her criticisms of Facebook, considering that “the choices made by the company’s leadership” “constitute a major problem for children, for public safety and for democracy”.
It is time for “democracies to act and adopt new laws”, and she considered that the Digital Services Act currently being considered by the European assembly may have the gift of raising standards internationally, including in the United States.
“I am grateful that the EU is taking this very seriously. The Digital Services Act, which is now under consideration in this parliament, has the potential to raise global standards and inspire other countries, including my own, to adopt new rules that they preserve our democracies”, said the American, stressing that the proposed law has the great merit of not “trying to erase the problem with content regulation”, but rather facing the “systemic risks of the current business model” of the big technology companies.
Haugen warned, however, that “the law must be strong and its implementation have to be firm”, otherwise “this once-in-a-generation opportunity to align the future of technology and democracy” will be lost.
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“Dear Members of Parliament, there is a lot at stake here, and you have a once in a generation opportunity to create new rules for our online world. It is possible for us to have more secure social networks,” she concluded, warning that platforms like Facebook choose “the profit on people’s safety every day, and this will continue if there are no new laws.”
The European Union, which lost the battle against Silicon Valley when it came to promoting the emergence of big companies on the Internet, now aspires to lead its control with laws that better protect users and promote free competition in a digital world where Facebook, Google and Amazon play an indisputable role in the daily lives of citizens.
The law on digital services will oblige platforms to provide information to authorities on how the algorithms that regulate the content that each user sees work, and they will have to undergo independent audits that will analyze, for example, how companies remove illegal information.
The intention of EU lawmakers is that the two laws can be passed next year to take effect in 2023.