Facebook got taken to task again this week by UK lawmakers, who accused it and other tech companies of helping to spread extremist and criminal content.
The hearing was called after footage of the Christchurch mosque shooting was streamed on Facebook Live in March. Facebook has been heavily criticized for its slow response time in removing the video. The scrutiny got so intense that the company issued one of its rare backtracks, promising it would “explore restrictions” for its live video platform. To make matters worse, Facebook’s Neil Potts admitted in front of the UK hearing that there could still be versions of the shooting video circulating on Facebook. As one can imagine, that did not go over well with the group of skeptical and angry politicians.
“You are effectively providing a platform for extremists, you are enabling extremism on your platforms,” Chairwoman Yvette Cooper told representatives from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. “Yet you are continuing to provide platforms for this extremism, you are continuing to show that you are not keeping up with it, and… you are continuing to promote it. To promote radicalization that has huge damaging consequences to families’ lives and to communities.”
Though incidents like this are embarrassing for Facebook, they’re a net positive for the site’s users. The more it’s held publicly responsible for its mistakes, the harder the company will work to protect us.
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