Friday March 17, 2017

EU Authorities Demand Changes from Facebook, Google, Twitter

The European Commission is at it again, threatening to fine social media companies over consumer protection regulations. (Caution, link contains a video which plays automatically) This time it is over their slow response time in removing abusive, illegal, threatening or slanderous content, including content targeting users with online fraud.

While these laws seem like a good idea to me, they sometimes make me wonder how feasible this level of content policing is. We all know that enforcing content through the use of clever algorithms is anything but foolproof, and that the magic touch of a human being is usually needed. Facebook currently has 1.86 Billion users active every month, and only just over 17,000 employees. Even if all of them worked in moderating posts, that's more than 100,000 users per employee. The question is, is it even possible to hire enough people to effectively moderate a forum used by more than a quarter of the Earth's population every month?

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The authorities and the Commission sent letters to the companies in December saying that some of their service terms broke EU consumer protection law and that they needed to do more to tackle fraud and scams on their websites.

The companies proposed some ways to resolve the issues and discussed them with the authorities and the Commission on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said, adding that the meeting was constructive.

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