CANBERRA, AAP – Facebook has pushed back against social media regulation it claims risks being “rushed through in anger” by countries like Australia.
Rebranded as Meta, the tech behemoth is grappling with a global reckoning over transparency and the misuse of its platforms.
Its vice-president for global affairs, and former United Kingdom deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg agrees the company needs to release more data.
“We’re going to see over the next few years new legislation in India, in Australia, in the UK, in the EU, possibly in the US, too,” he told an Australian Strategic Policy Institute forum on Friday.
“It’s all on the books, it’s in the pipeline.
“Some of it, I think is really good. Some of it, I just happen to think it’s not very good. Some of it is rushed through in anger.”
Mr Clegg thought the internet was facing its “Bretton Woods moment”, a reference to allied countries’ agreement to establish post-WWII regulations for international finance.
“There’s some foundational principles amongst democracies on privacy, on transparency, on accountability, on free expression on open data flows, which I think are essential to keep the global internet as innovative as it is,” he said.
“We need to release more and more data. We need to provide more access to researchers to do their own research using our data.
“Thankfully, the vast majority of content that is on social media is good, it’s innocent, it’s playful, it’s positive.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne told the forum tech companies should take responsibility for the ways they were misused.
She flagged disinformation about COVID-19 – which has been perpetrated by some of the coalition’s own backbenchers – as well as social media manipulation by authoritarian regimes, and the harassment of women and girls.
“There is still a responsibility that we have to address these questions from the perspective of government, from the perspective of technology, platforms, and of course, from the views of civil society in the community as well,” Senator Payne said.
Meta came under fire in October from data scientist turned whistleblower Frances Haugen who accused her former employer of failing to act despite knowing its systems caused harm.
Separately, Prime Minister Scott Morrison blasted social media as a “coward’s palace” filled with anonymous trolls and flagged action to make companies accountable.