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Facebook acts like gangster and its fake news threatens democracy, say UK MPs

Staff Writer |
Facebook behaves like a digital gangster and democracy is at risk from the "malicious and relentless" targeting of citizens with disinformation, a UK Parliamentary committee has said.

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Social media platforms are behaving like "digital gangsters" and should be forced to comply with a regulated code of ethics to tackle harmful or illegal content on their sites, a Commons committee investigating 'fake news' has demanded.

In a major report, MPs also warned that democracy is at risk from the "malicious and relentless" targeting of citizens with disinformation and adverts from unidentifiable sources, as they called for reform to electoral communication laws.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee singled out Facebook for criticism, accusing it of being "unwilling to be accountable to regulators", and rounded on its chief Mark Zuckerberg, who was accused of showing "contempt" towards the committee by choosing not to appear before it last year.

The report said: "Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like 'digital gangsters' in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law."

The report also said ethics guidelines are needed to set out what is and what is not acceptable on social media, including harmful and illegal content that has been referred to the platforms by users or identified by the companies.

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