A “Duty Of Care” For Facebook

French regulators have recommended requiring a “duty of care” for big social networks, meaning social networks should have a legal obligation to moderate hate speech published on their platforms. The regulators have no idea how this would or should be accomplished, but such a requirement makes sense to them. To his credit, Facebook’s (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We can make progress on enforcing the rules, but at some level the question of what speech should be acceptable and what is harmful needs to be defined by regulation, by thoughtful governments that have a robust democratic process.”

Governments and a Robust Democratic Process

Facebook is a true democracy. So are Google, Twitter, and every other successful US-based search engine or social network. Everyone gets one vote, and every vote counts. Your behaviors determine what information you see. The more you like something, the more of it you get. The less you like something, the less of it you get.

The United States is not, strictly speaking, a democracy. Scholars argue this point, but the United States is either a Constitutional Republic, or a Federal Republic, or a Democratic Republic, and a constitutional representative democracy. In its simplest terms, this means that we elect our leaders and let them decide for us how we are governed. If we don’t like their decisions, our constitution describes a process (elections) to ensure the peaceful transition of power.

A Shift in Constituencies

Global population is estimated to be 7.7 billion people. Approximately 4.2 billion people have internet access. Which raises the question, can a constitutional republic (or a bunch of other elected central governments) control a true democracy that is the direct voice of about 55 percent of the global population?

One Person, One Vote – Except …

People are no longer the only gatherers of information or possessors of knowledge. AI systems all over the world collect and process data in ways that humans cannot.

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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