The Facebook fake news face-off

Zuckerberg under fire as UK democracy under threat. Reputations can be ruined by the misuse of social media. Do you have a social media policy?

A Commons committee has concluded that Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg failed to show “leadership or personal responsibility” over fake news and as a result the company needs strict regulation to end disinformation and untrue stories from foreign powers that could risk damaging the UK’s democracy.

The inquiry into fake news was conducted by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, with much of the evidence focusing on the business practices of Facebook before and after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where this political advertising firm had access to the data of millions of users, some of which was then allegedly used to psychologically profile US voters. The data was acquired via a personality quiz.

The conclusion of the report said: “Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day”.

“We believe that in its evidence to the committee, Facebook has often deliberately sought to frustrate our work, by giving incomplete, disingenuous and at time misleading answers to our questions”.

MPs were particularly angry that Mr Zuckerberg did not come to the UK to answer questions in person.

MPs said current electoral regulations were “hopelessly out of date for the internet age” and needed urgent reform, so that the same principles of transparency of political communications that operate in the real world were applied online too.

The committee called on the government to reveal how many investigations were currently being carried out into Russian interference in UK politics, particularly the EU referendum in 2016.

Following the death of teenager Molly Russell, her father accused Facebook-owned Instagram of facilitating her death, by failing to remove images of self-harm. As a result, pressure is mounting on the tech giants to get to grips with the issue of fake news, and will add to calls from other ministers for regulation on the issue of the abundance of harmful content.

Facebook claim that they are now employing UK fact checkers.

So what?

In the digital world we live in, talk of reputations can be made or wrecked at the click of a button. Using Facebook or other social media platforms for your business can actually affect whether you’re compliant or not.

Are you using technology like Facebook pixel? Are you taking information from social media platforms and trying to communicate or market with this information?

As well as many other questions that need to be addressed when social media is or isn’t in play, one of the important GDPR requirements is a supply chain audit so if you use Facebook for information, then they are a supplier.

Contact us if you want to know more about supply chain audits.