Democracy is cracking and platforms are no help. What can we do about it? Some policy suggestions

Here are a few in a new Canadian report: greater transparency requirements for digital news publishers, holding social media companies legally liable for the content on their platforms, and mandatory independent audits for platform algorithms.


[~] Platforms aren’t efficiently self-regulating. Government officials don’t know how Facebook’s advertising works (or some know it too well). The internet can be a cesspool of spiteful users and malicious bots and yeah, in some places, digital-based communities and positive connections. But what can be done?

How about requiring internet companies to be legally liable for the content appearing in their domains?

Auditing algorithms regularly and making the results publicly available?

Launching a large-scale civic literacy and critical thinking campaign?

Giving individuals greater rights over the use, mobility, and monetization of their data?

These are some of the suggestions floated in Democracy Divided, a new Canadian report by Public Policy Forum CEO/former Globe and Mail journalist Edward Greenspon and University of British Columbia assistant professor/Columbia Journalism School senior fellow Taylor Owen. The ideas are bold, sure, and maybe a little far-fetched — especially when viewed from the very different regulatory context of the United States — but hey, bold thinking is at least somewhere to start.

Read the whole article at >>>

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