Chair comments on Facebook response
28 June 2018
The Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins MP, today commented on the latest responses Facebook has made in extended correspondence with the Committee as part of its Fake News inquiry.
Damian Collins MP, Chair of the DCMS Committee, said:
“In these responses, Facebook continue to display a pattern of evasive behaviour – a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry. In some cases, these answers even show inconsistencies in their evidence to us. The lack of public scrutiny of social media and tech companies like Facebook, considering their profound influence over our lives, is a matter of serious concern for this Committee. We will be addressing this point as part of our interim report being published in due course.
“There are numerous examples where Facebook's answers are found wanting:
- On digital political advertising (a subject central to our inquiry), Facebook officials previously told us in oral evidence on February 8th that there are rigorous internal rules within the company when it comes to regulating and processing such advertising, but now they tell us they cannot distinguish between political and non-political advertising? This is difficult to believe.
- Why won't they share with us how much resource they are devoting to security? I thought this is a fact they would be proud to share, considering their public dedication to prioritising the safety of its users after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
- Why won't they share country-by-country revenues?
- Why do they refuse accountability for fraudulent ads on their site? Isn't this blatant disregard for safety and protection for users?
“They finish their letter by citing the number of times they have provided evidence to our Committee. Highlighting this fact seems to tell us that Facebook seem reluctant to be subject to continuous scrutiny, and prefer that their engagement on these issues be limited to only the minimum necessary, or when pressed, despite them being one of the most influential companies in the world with no public accountability or oversight other than to their shareholders.
“The Committee will keep engaging with Facebook and other relevant actors until the public get the answers they deserve, and will be setting out full recommendations in our forthcoming report.”