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UK Parliament’s DCMS Committee publishes final report on Disinformation inquiry

The Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons has concluded its inquiry into Fake News.

Background: The DCMS Committee launched its inquiry into Disinformation and 'fake news' in September 2017. The Committee held 23 oral evidence sessions and heard from 73 individuals, including executives from the largest tech companies.

How it ended: Today, the Committee released its final report, which identifies threats (risks for democracy due to foreign influence; tech companies failing in their duty of care against harmful content, and exploiting their ‘massive’ market power) and sets out recommendations to address them. The report calls for a Compulsory Code of Ethics for tech companies to be overseen by an independent regulator, which should be entitled to legal action against those who breach it; and proposes companies to be obliged to take down known harmful content including ‘proven sources’ of disinformation. The data protection authority ICO, and the competition authority CMA, should run investigations on Facebook’s practices in the respective fields of competence.

What happens now: The report makes recommendations, however there is no indication of how and when these will turn into legislative proposals. Facebook responded saying it supports privacy legislation, and that “while we still have more to do, we are not the same company we were a year ago”.