It's time for more government regulation on Facebook and other tech companies
The ongoing privacy issues happening with social media companies may be bad news for tech stocks, but it has led to something very important. It has made people aware of the impacts technology has on government and democracy in general. And now politicians are even speaking about it in the United States (US), European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom (UK). If this momentum keeps going then maybe we'll see regulation that will bring about a change in the way tech companies operate.
UK and US Lawmakers Recognize a Problem
UK lawmakers have explained that they think Facebook and other tech firms should be held liable for "harmful and misleading" material on their websites. What UK lawmakers are most concerned about is Facebook's relationship with Cambridge Analytica due to Cambridge Analytica improperly accessing the information of 87 million Facebook users. On the other side of the Atlantic, American politicians are concerned over social media's dissemination of fake news and have once again begun pondering placing more regulations on the social media industry.
We Need Smart Regulations for Social Media
Now that politicians are able to see the big grip social media and data companies have on society, politicians should begin creating smart regulations for the social media and data gathering industries. The EU has taken the lead in regulating social media by enacting a new law on May 25, 2018 called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulatory law is designed to make sure users know and understand what data they are sharing with online companies. UK politicians have also suggested that social media regulations could be based on Ofcom’s rules for television and radio. Ofcom is a UK organization that develops guidelines to monitor television and radio services in the UK. In comparison to their EU and UK counterparts, US politicians have shown less ambition to regulate tech companies. For instance, American politicians have decided to bring Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Congress for questioning but have yet to enact any strong industry regulations. American advocates for the regulation of social media have even expressed concerns that Congress may not enact regulations on social media anytime soon.
We Need Political Will to Bring About Change
The plans to regulate social media really shouldn't come as a surprise to business experts, shareholders, or investors, considering that for the past few decades governments have been trying to keep up with new technologies and that for the past few years governments were trying to understand how these technologies impact citizens. Now with the occurrence of data breaches, invasion of privacy, and the dissemination of false information these governments know how social media and data collection impact society and are on track to being able to more easily create tailored regulations for social media companies. The only question that remains is if politicians, especially American politicians, have the political will to bring about change and increase regulations on tech companies.
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