Former president Barack Obama On Thursday, the spread of disinformation online has harmed democracy in the United States, and the tech industry needs regulations and laws to address this issue.
“The design of these platforms itself seems to be tilting us in the wrong direction,” Obama said at an event at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center.
Comments are numerous to curb the power of the tech industry, including changes in legal liability known as Section 230, which not only enables competition law, privacy protection, and content moderation, but also protects the platform from user liability. It is sent when Congress is considering reform of the law. ‘Post.
This is a raging debate in Washington over the last few years. Obama’s position is noteworthy, as the Obama administration is now considered by many reform advocates to be friendly to the tech industry. Google It is reportedly closely related to the Obama White House, for example, Technology Transparency Project..
“MySpace, Meetup, FacebookThat allowed an army of young volunteers to organize funding and spread our message, “Obama said.
But at that time, the relationship between Washington and Silicon Valley wasn’t too tense. Things have changed dramatically since the 2016 elections Donald Trump As president and as a revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal on Facebook.
“I’m not convinced that the total abolition of Article 230 is the answer,” Obama said. President Joe BidenServed as Vice President of Obama, Advocated such a policy during his campaign For the White House, but most Democrats aren’t in that extreme position.
Obama is taking a cautious approach. He said Congress should consider amending the law and the platform “needs to pay higher standard attention when it comes to advertising on the site.”
“If properly structured, regulations can foster competition and prevent existing companies from freezing new innovators,” Obama said.
Many conservative lawmakers have accused social media companies of censoring based on ideology, but the platform denied this and said it simply enforced community guidelines. Obama has shown that there are severe restrictions on the debate on free speech.
“I’m pretty close to the First Amendment Absolutist,” Obama said. “The First Amendment checks the power of the state. It does not apply to private companies such as Facebook and Facebook. twitterMore than applies to editorial decisions made by The New York Times or Fox News. Do not have. Social media companies have already made choices about what is allowed on their platform, what is not allowed, and how their content will be displayed. Explicitly through content moderation and implicitly through algorithms. The problem is that we often don’t know which principle governs those decisions. “
Obama advocated greater transparency in the design of the technology platform by comparing the concept to a unique meat packaging method.
“They don’t have to reveal to the world what the technique is. They have to tell the meat inspector,” he said. “Similarly, tech companies should be able to protect their intellectual property while complying with the specific safety standards we have agreed to be necessary for greater benefit as a country as well as them. “
Obama said Internet companies are not solely responsible for the polarization that has hit society.
“But the decline of newspapers and other traditional news sources is accelerating as social media platforms gain market advantage and focus on speed,” he said.
Obama acknowledged the difficulty of advancing the law and appealed directly to tech companies and their employees.
“It’s an opportunity for businesses to do the right thing. You can still make money, but you feel better,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for employees of those companies to encourage them to do the right thing, because you want to see what’s there and feel good.”