3 moves the US government could make to restart in Facebook

3 moves the US government could make to restart in.jpgsignature33da5ed11bbe05edc224b02720abbc45

Facebook may have changed its corporate name to Meta Platforms, but that will not end its problems - or attempts to innovate in the social media company's business practices. Lawyers are considering new ways to regulate Facebook, their CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in 2019 that he welcomed “new rules governing the internet. With that in mind, we asked three experts on social media, technology policy, and global business to offer one specific action that the government could take on the Meta Facebook service.


Index

    Allow users more control over their data

    Anjana Susarla, Professor of Information Systems, Michigan State University

    Social media sites like Facebook are designed for regular interaction to grab users ’attention. To get started in Facebook, lawmakers must first understand the harm that comes from algorithmic manipulation on these platforms. One thing that Congress could do is make sure that Facebook gives users more control over the data that the company collects about them and why.

    Most people who use Facebook are unaware of how algorithmic suggestions affect their knowledge of the platform and thus the information with which they engage. For example, political campaigns have tried to manipulate communication to gain more traction on Facebook.

    A key aspect of providing such clarity is to give consumers greater access and control over their data, similar to what is proposed in the California Consumer Privacy Act. This would allow users to see what personal data Facebook collects about them and how the company uses it. Many people do not realize that Meta has the ability to make decisions about their political choices and their attitudes towards society.

    A related issue is tools and portable data rights that allow users to import the data, including photos and videos, which they share on Facebook to other social media services.

    Giving users more control over their data goes a long way in ensuring independent accountability and monitoring of Facebook activity.


    Ordering transparency

    Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

    In October 2020, Facebook sent a letter of resignation to New York University researchers. The researchers investigated the spread of misinformation on Facebook through political ads. The company told NYU that scraping their platform violated Facebook's terms of service, and threatened "further enforcement action" if continued use. In August 2021, Facebook terminated the accounts of two researchers and cut the access of NYU and its partners to their political investment repository.

    Companies like Meta are not forthcoming just about the problems on their platforms. The public hears about issues such as misinformation and prejudice largely through the efforts of researchers, journalists and insiders.

    Congress retains the power to hold Meta's hand when it comes to threatening a lawsuit or obstructing accountability investigations. Congress could, for example, add a search exemption to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which would protect researchers from the threat of litigation for the use of data not expressly authorized by a company. social media, or to protect employees from retaliation.

    Congress could go even further: It could order transparency. Nothing about free speech teaching or platform protection prevents the government from posting monitoring or reporting requirements on social media. The Federal Reserve secures regulators in national banks.

    Why shouldn't Meta - a company with a market capitalization of $ 900 billion US and intentions to seed metaverse - open its operations to scrutiny?


    Another way to get Meta to pay

    Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business, Fletcher School, Tufts University

    I have a pragmatic suggestion for what the government could do with Meta.

    When Farhad Manjoo, a New York Times columnist recently asked this question to experts, they came back with a number of solutions. In the end, Manjoo concluded with the deep political divide in Congress, "doing nothing may not be the most likely outcome."

    I also agree that this is the most plausible scenario. Nonetheless, one fact is inconsistent: Meta is under pressure right now, and the government can use this move to bring immediate benefits to society no matter what happens down the road. .

    There is a bigger problem than the lack of high tech accountability: Almost half of Americans cannot use the internet at broadband speeds. This is inappropriate in a post - pandemic world, where high - speed internet has become essential. Broadband internet is also accessible to many.

    Even the $ 65 billion earmarked for broadband in the infrastructure bill approved by Congress is not enough to close America's huge digital divide. My Digital Planet research team at Tufts has estimated the actual cost of closing the infrastructure access gap at $ 240 billion - leaving a deficit of $ 175 billion.

    Lawyers could use the rule stick to force the company to agree to cover the country with broadband. Meta already has two programs that can be used to close gaps in rural and urban areas.

    At the same time, Congress could levy a tech tax on digital ads sold by Facebook and other social networks to subsidize telecommunications services in high - cost areas.

    By giving more people access to high-speed internet, Meta will benefit by increasing the number of people who can join its metaverse. While that may seem counterproductive, the big lies of the US outweigh the big lies by people who can't use the internet for essential services because we couldn't make money build enough to close the gap.

    Article by Anjana Susarla, Professor of Information Systems, Michigan State University; Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business, Fletcher School, Tufts University, and Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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