When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on March 30 that the internet could use more regulation of “harmful content,” maybe he should have been more specific. Less than a week after Zuckerberg’s statement, Australia’s Parliament passed the Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019, with no public or expert consultation.
Evelyn Douek is an S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School, studying international and transnational regulation of online speech. Before coming to Harvard to complete a Master of Laws, Evelyn clerked for the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon. Justice Susan Kiefel, and worked as a corporate litigator. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
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The Charter of the United Nations begins by listing a number of lofty goals, including, “We the peoples of the United Nations [have] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.” This echoes the more famous and similarly aspirational preamble to the U.S.
The Supreme Court of Facebook is about to become a reality.
Most Americans were likely distracted with the looming midterm election on the evening of Nov. 5 when Facebook published a lengthy report assessing the effect of the company’s presence in Myanmar.
Members of the Myanmar military have systematically used Facebook as a tool in the government’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, according to an incredible piece of reporting by the New York Times on Oct. 15. The Times writes that the military harnessed Facebook over a period of years to disseminate hate propaganda, false news and inflammatory posts.
Senate Hearing on Social Media and Foreign Influence Operations: Progress, But There’s A Long Way to Go
Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on “Foreign Influence Operations’ Use of Social Media Platforms” was, as Chairman Richard Burr called it, the “capstone” of the committee’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Committee members focused on what had been learned and what had changed over the course of the investigation, presaging future action in broad terms only.
The 2018 “techlash” shows no sign of slowing. The last week of July saw the release of two papers containing proposals for significant increases regulation of tech companies, particularly with an eye toward protecting the integrity of political processes and elections.