U.S. congressmen are considering pushing for legislation to enforce stricter regulation of algorithms on online platforms such as Facebook.
Earlier this month, the American social network giant Facebook appeared as a “whistleblower” Frances Haugen (Frances Haugen).
As a former product manager of Facebook, she testified before the U.S. Congress, exploding a lot of Facebook’s “shady”. According to Facebook’s thousands of pages of internal documents disclosed, the company’s algorithm that prioritizes growth and engagement is driving people to browse more controversial and harmful content.
Although Section 230 of the US Communications Regulation Act of 1996 provides extensive legal immunity for online platforms, both Republicans and Democrats agree that technology companies should bear certain responsibilities. Legislators are trying to think about how to make laws to allow or prohibit certain types of speech (these speech may conflict with the “First Amendment”), and the supervision of automatic algorithms is becoming a possible strategy.
Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, told the media: “The algorithms driving powerful social media platforms are black boxes, making it difficult for the public and policymakers to monitor and ensure that companies comply with regulations, even their own. Regulation.”
Hogan has previously stated that the best way to regulate online platforms like Facebook is to focus on systemic solutions, especially the transparency and accountability of machine learning architectures, which are what drives some of the world’s largest , The most influential enterprise.
Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (Richard Blumenthal), chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee, led the congressional investigation of Hogan’s allegations. Blumenthal pointed out in a statement on Monday that the machine learning architecture of the Facebook platform not only poses a threat to users, but also poses a threat to democracy.
He said: “Facebook obviously cannot self-regulate because its powerful algorithms promote content that is harmful to children and encourage hatred. This greatly increases the requirements for reforms, the development of rules to protect young people, and the requirements for large technology companies such as Facebook to achieve real The voice of transparency and accountability.”
Although strengthening the supervision of large technology companies is an urgent task, it is undoubtedly difficult for the US Congress to supervise a technologically complex and fast-growing industry. The controversy surrounding Article 230 of the Communications Regulation Act continues. Critics pointed out that the government’s regulation of speech may silence the voices that have been marginalized. At the same time, several civil rights organizations in the United States have warned lawmakers not to modify the Article. Clause 230.
Therefore, the focus of supervision will be on algorithms. Proponents of this approach believe that platforms should not be responsible for user-generated content, but should be responsible for how their systems are designed to amplify certain types of information.
Congressman Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, proposed a new bill that would revoke Section 230 of the protection of any online platform that uses algorithms to amplify or recommend dangerous content. “Designing a personalized algorithm that promotes extremism, false information, and harmful content is a conscious choice. The platform is responsible for this.”
In addition, many other lawmakers have proposed bills to supervise online platforms such as Facebook in different ways, including paying attention to how companies use algorithms, and requiring online platforms to allow users to close the “filter bubbles” created by algorithms to avoid the effects of algorithms on platforms. Manipulation etc.