UK MPs say: Force Big Tech to evaluate algorithms for the harm they cause
The UK should force social media companies to assess and report harm caused by their algorithms, a parliamentary committee has recommended ahead of new laws to improve online safety.
The proposals come days after photo-sharing app Instagram said it would let users switch to a chronological feed of posts rather than in its algorithmic order. which has recently been criticized for promoting harmful content.
The Commission has responded to a draft Online Safety Bill, slated to enter into force in Spring 2022 that aims to protect children and adults from harmful and illegal internet content, including Hate speech and content that incites child sexual abuse, violence or terrorism.
After hearing 50 eyewitnesses and receiving more than 200 articles, the committee found that social media companies exacerbated “the presence, spread, and impact of harm” by designing The algorithm focuses above all on user interaction, such as commenting, sharing or liking a post.
The inter-party committee, established to scrutinize the bill, also proposes that posts about self-harm and cyber breaches, or the submission of sexually explicit images without consent, should be considered illegal. legal. It added that the definition of hate speech should be updated.
Damian Collins, the committee’s chair, added that internet companies should name the decision-makers responsible for online safety.
“The company has to say that this is the group of people responsible,” he said. “There is no reason at all. We still don’t know what Mark Zuckerberg is [chief executive of Meta] know. It’s his company but what decisions is he basing it on? What was he prepared to do in this? ”
Ofcom, the media regulator, will be given responsibility for regulating the tech giants under the draft law and punishing them with fines of up to £18 million or 10% of annual global revenue. .
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled the British government’s desire to adopt a tougher stance on technology regulations.
“It is time for the online giants to realize that they simply cannot consider themselves neutral parts of the infrastructure,” he told the contact selection committee. “They are publishers and they are responsible for what appears on their systems, and the online harm bill is designed to make that distinction.”
Online advertising scam should also follow the law, the report said, but in October culture and digital secretary Nadine Dorries said she was barred from including it based on “legal advice received”.