The legislator, the award-winning journalist and the whistleblower to Face down Facebook in Westminster next week

An impressive panel will join Molly at Westminster next Tuesday to discuss how to protect our democracy from disinformation and manipulation spread through Facebook. Damian Collins MP, award-winning journalist Carole Cadwalladr, and Vote Leave whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, have all worked to expose how the social media giant has been involved in abuses of personal data for political purposes.

The event at Westminster, which is open to journalists and the public [1], follows the launch of a new report Molly commissioned which documents the ways in which Facebook has been involved in abuses of personal data for political purposes and manipulation of electoral outcomes. The report concludes that social media platforms such as Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate themselves, and makes some key policy recommendations.

Molly said:

“It is fitting that a legislator, a journalist and a whistleblower, who have all played vital roles in facing down Facebook for some time, will attend this event to share their ideas on how we can protect our democracy from the activities of this social media giant.

“Facebook is the social network turned antisocial network. It was supposed to bring us closer together but now stands accused of stealing our imaginations, fostering social divisions, inciting self-harm and failing to control hate speech and extremism. But as a parliamentarian, I see the most destructive singular impact of Facebook is its impact on democracy.

“There is a sense of urgency in regulating this social media monster, because the likelihood of a People’s Vote grows by the day. We must ensure that this time Facebook is prevented from providing a platform for micro-targeting voters with deceitful propaganda. This is not a left-right issue; nor is it pro or anti Brexit but is vital to ensure the survival of our democracy.”

The proposed regulatory measures in the report include standard default “no sharing of personal data with other organisations” privacy settings; all political advertisements to include information on the sponsor, the amount spent on it and the basis on which any targeting was carried out; and a requirement by social media companies to verify the identities of all their users before accepting them onto their platforms to prevent automated posts by non-human agents.

Notes

[1] Please see Eventbrite for full details of the event. This is now oversubscribed but there is a waiting list. 

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