Facebook and responsibility for content

Prof. Nelly Ognyanova, media lawyer, comments on the recent developments in the ongoing Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal on her blog Media Law discussing the arguments for the establishment of an effective appeal procedure.

Prof. Ognyanova draws attention to the fact that Facebook is about to hire 20,000 people to identify hate speech because laws such as NetzDG in Germany and the media require it, citing Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis (https://medium.com/whither-news/whats -wrong-with-this-picture-1a596f0b9c2a). At the same time, the total number of journalists in America was 32,900 in 2015 and probably less than 30,000 is the number today. And these numbers are about to become equal.

She compares the famous self-regulation of platforms, which everyone talks about as a perspective to avoid new regulation media are so afraid of with the more acceptable to the audience judicial control, court judgment deciding on the lawfulness of content – or the court of the companies like Facebook.

Stressing that Zuckerberg himself issues contradictory signals as he may have realized the severity of the responsibility to make decisions (the media well-known editorial responsibility) (https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/3/17191198/facebook-supreme-court-mark-zuckerberg-content-moderation) because his opinions are quite dynamic, for example within 24 hours he overturned his position of not applying the principles of EDPR Ognyanova points to two very important conditions for the proper FB functioning, underlined by Zuckerberg himself.

First, transparency, regarding the issues of the platform, trends and how it moves over time.

Second, an independent appeal process. Right now, if you post something on Facebook and someone reports on it and the review team decides to remove the content, the decision can not be appealed. In every well-functioning democratic system there must be a way to appeal. According to the FB founder they can build such a unit internally as a first step. But in the long run, an appeal to an independent structure, almost like a Supreme Court made up of independent people who do not work with Facebook, and ultimately make a final judgment on what is the acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values ​​of people all over the world should be accomplished.

Ognyanova recalls another interview (https://www.recode.net/2018/3/22/17150772/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-content-policy-guidelines-hate-free-speech) in which Zuckerberg admits “fundamental discomfort” to sit in an office in California and make decisions about content which affect people worldwide. The logical expectation is that he will try to preserve the attractive chunks of power and dispose himself of the responsibility to reach very complex judgments, concludes the BG media expert.

On April 10, Zuckerberg will answer the questions of two senate committees (https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/rep/releases/senate-judiciary-and-commerce-committees-announce-joint-hearing-with-facebook -ceo) in Washington. The session was named Facebook, social media, privacy, use and misuse of data.

Медийно право. Facebook и отговорността за съдържанието

– https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/facebook-11/

The information is prepared by the team of the COMPACT project.

COMPACT is a Coordination and Support Action funded European Commission under framework Horizon 2020.

The objective of the COMPACT project is to increase awareness (including scientific, political, cultural, legal, economic and technical areas) of the latest technological discoveries among key stakeholders in the context of social media and convergence. The project will offer analyses and road maps of related initiatives. In addition, extensive research on policies and regulatory frameworks in media and content will be developed.

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