February 18th 2019
Greens support House of Commons report on Disinformation and Fake news.
Facebook's monopoly power must be broken and Governments need to regulate online political advertising.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD said today, 'We welcome the publication of the House of Commons committee report on 'Disinformation and Fake News' and support the conclusions and recommendations they have arrived at.'
'I was pleased to present our own national experience at the 'International Grand Committee' that met in Westminster last November as part of the process of compiling this report. Our common experience was that social media companies such as Facebook are abusing their monopoly powers and need to be better regulated.'
'On three occasions between 2009 and 2011 Facebook were separately instructed by Canadian, US and Irish authorities to improve the protection of users’ private data on their platform. Despite the directions coming from important national regulators the company ignored the instructions and continued with the inappropriate sharing and exploitation of users’ personal information. This culminated in the secretive use of the Facebook network during the Brexit referendum and US Presidential election, which undermined their democratic systems.'
'The Irish Government has a special responsibility to act because we are the headquarters of Facebook in Europe and have to oversee the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) directive. The private members bill introduced by James Lawless TD to regulate online political advertising is still stuck in limbo along with a host of other opposition bills that the Government is blocking. That threat to our own democratic system now needs to change.'
'We also need to go further and engage at an international level to consider how these over-powerful technologies can be better regulated. It is remarkable that a company such as Facebook was allowed to acquire both Whatsapp and Instagram to add to their globally dominant position.'
'We should work with the European Commission and the authorities in Westminster, Ottawa and Washington to work out how such monopolies can be broken up. I look forward to the further work of the International Committee we have agreed should reconvene and to help here in Dáil Eireann to implement those recommendations that relate to our own jurisdiction.'