News, Culture & Society

MPs to increase pressure on Facebook and Google chiefs

In a bid to halt the spread of fake news, MPs are to increase the pressure on Silicon Valley chiefs by summoning them to parliamentary hearings held in America.

Radical new plans could see Google and Facebook executives appear before a committee to address the growth of fake news websites.

A committee of MPs will use British diplomatic buildings in America, meaning the sessions will legally be on British soil, to ask the tech giants to account for their role in the spread.

In a bid to halt the spread of fake news, MPs are to increase the pressure on Silicon Valley chiefs by summoning them to parliamentary hearings held in America

Fake news websites have increased in number in recent years and accounted for the widespread dissemination of lies and propaganda designed to influence politics or profit from article circulation.

Because the meetings will be held on British soil, the sessions will be covered by parliamentary privilege, giving MPs legal immunity to ask tough questions without fear of legal reprisal over the course of the discussions.

According to The Times, chairman of the digital culture, media and sport committee Damian Collins, said that holding the sessions in America would allow MPs to question senior figures in the companies who could not be compelled to appear in Britain. 

A committee of MPs will use British diplomatic buildings in America, meaning the sessions will legally be on British soil, to ask the tech giants to account for their role in the spread

A committee of MPs will use British diplomatic buildings in America, meaning the sessions will legally be on British soil, to ask the tech giants to account for their role in the spread

Google and Facebook have appeared willing to take part, with the hearings likely to take place this year of early next. 

Mr Collins’ committee is examining whether the fake news websites enable profiteering at the expense of truth, and whether they are done to meet political ends. 

Despite Google and Facebook’s seeming willingness to appear before MPs, a raft of American companies in the past have avoided questioning by UK politicians.

Sir Philip Green, the BHS owner, and Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct founder, both turned down requests to appear before committees.

Google and Facebook have appeared willing to take part, with the hearings likely to take place this year of early next

Google and Facebook have appeared willing to take part, with the hearings likely to take place this year of early next

A spokesperson for Google said: ‘We have already submitted written evidence to the committee and are happy to give evidence in person wherever the committee think appropriate.’

While a spokesperson for Facebook added: ‘We take fighting false news on Facebook seriously. That’s why we’ve made a series of changes to better detect and remove fake accounts and help people identify false news.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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