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Facebook’s Clegg: We’re getting better at protecting elections

MUNICH: Fb will do a greater job of stopping unhealthy actors from abusing its platform to control this 12 months’s US presidential election than it did 4 years in the past, its public affairs chief Nick Clegg mentioned on Jan 20.

Dealing with a important viewers at a expertise convention in Munich, Clegg, a British former deputy prime minister employed by Fb in 2018, mentioned interference by Russian and different operatives within the 2016 vote had “shocked everyone”.

However the world’s largest social community had since taken efficient motion to cut back the unfold of faux information, he mentioned, whereas most extremist political content material was now being detected earlier than it involves public discover.

“We’re getting higher and higher at defending elections from overseas interference,” Clegg informed the DLD expertise convention.

“Contact wooden, we can do loads higher within the US presidential elections this 12 months than we did 4 years in the past.”

US particular prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report into suspected Russian meddling within the presidential election discovered that Russian brokers had used Fb to unfold divisive messages, together with false information experiences, to assist elect Donald Trump and hurt his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Fb was plunged into disaster practically two years in the past by revelations that British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had used information harvested from hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting customers to focus on US election adverts.

Within the viewers was former Cambridge Analytica staffer-turned-whistleblower Brittany Kaiser who, in a query to Clegg, accused Fb of wrongly evaluating the correct job of moderating content material on its platform to censorship.

Clegg, protecting his cool, respectfully disagreed: “I do not suppose we do. We have to strike the suitable steadiness.”


Clegg was additionally challenged on a dispute in Germany over vulgar private insults made on Fb towards Renate Kuenast, a senior Greens politician.

Kuenast took the case to a Berlin courtroom, which discovered final 12 months that the insults didn’t characterize a violation of free speech. Judges refused her request to order Fb to show over the information of these making the offensive posts.

Fb, Clegg mentioned, had not been a celebration to the case. Whereas not defending the language used, he mentioned any choice handy over that consumer information would have been improper because the legislation had not been damaged.

“We’re going to be very cautious, for content material that’s disgusting however not unlawful, about giving over private information,” he informed the convention.

Fb had since modified its content material guidelines in order that, if such language have been used once more, it could be taken down, he mentioned.

Do not chop us into bits

In an earlier newspaper editorial, Clegg resisted calls to interrupt up dominant US expertise companies, as a substitute urging lawmakers and regulators to take steps to create an setting extra conducive to competitors.

“Regulating the tech sector is a much more efficient means to make sure that tech serves the wants of society than merely chopping profitable firms into bits,” he wrote within the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

He urged the European Union’s new government Fee to “get to work” and, for instance, make it simpler for Fb customers to maneuver their information to a different social community.

“If we would like a aggressive, open Web the place new providers can compete with giant platforms like Fb, we’ve to allow folks to maneuver their information from one service to a competing one,” he wrote. – Reuters

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