The events of January 6 showed existing approaches to quell disinformation and incitements to violence on social media platforms have failed, badly. Even though the companies that run these platforms are displaying a new willingness to police them, up to and including banning the worst offenders, claims that U.S. tech companies can self-regulate and moderate dangerous content comprehensively should be regarded with extreme skepticism. So too, Twitter’s recent launch of Birdwatch, a crowd-sourcing forum to combat misinformation, is a welcome measure but at best a partial and imperfect solution to a far more systemic problem. Instead, it is time, at long last, to regulate.
It is time, at long last, to regulate.
These reforms must extend beyond stronger antitrust regulation and enforcement against Big Tech companies, which are worthwhile, but do little to restructure fundamentally how social media platforms operate. New rules must be introduced for the algorithms that decide what users see and for the data these companies collect for themselves, as well as data scraping by third parties.
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