Facebook and Google Capitol Hill

Internet giants Facebook and Google are facing restored examination as regulators aim to censor content they deem harmful.

Following a recent round of new proposals from the EU, regulators in Britain are looking to apply additional pressure on Facebook and Google to censor apps and websites that they propose contain hazardous material

The UK government on Monday released broad policies to keep such damaging content as terrorism, hate speech, self-harm, and bullying off social networks, messaging, search, and file-sharing sites.

The proposition would require big tech companies to take “sensible and proportional” action on potentially damaging content.

They have proposed the development of an effective independent regulator which would police tech companies for infringements.

The platforms could face substantial fines, organization limitations, imprisoning executives and more.

And the U.K. is not the only voice on this matter.

The backlash versus the tech giants is international

Just a couple of hours before the U.K. proposals were published, Facebook was branded “morally bankrupt liars” by New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner in the wake of their handling of last month’s attacks in Christchurch.

And last week, Australia’s Federal Government introduced legislation to fine or send to prison social media execs who fail to take the spread of abhorrent violent product online seriously.

This backlash comes as Facebook and Google executives prepare to take on Capitol Hil in the United States. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution has set up a hearing for Wednesday titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.”

Facebook spokesperson Neil Potts, its public policy director, will be testifying. Spokespersons from Twitter and Google are anticipated to attend too.

The hearing marks the most recent notable effort to bring Silicon Valley’s politics into a public discussion about tech and its numerous stumbles over the past couple years.

The market has also raised the issue, with each announcement weighing on share prices. And last month Mark Zuckerberg penned an op-ed in the Washington Post to argue that social media business cannot and must not be held responsible for policing what can and can not be published and shared.

In the piece, Zuckerberg wrote “I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. After focusing on these issues for the past two years, I think it’s important to define what roles we want companies and governments to play. By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.”

Facebook and Google have stepped up their public conversation concerning hazardous messages on their services and will likely offer similar information to what they have revealed in the past.

Facebook, in particular, has also begun openly promoting more guideline of the tech industry.


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