Governments must regulate social networks: Facebook’s Clegg

Clegg later told an audience in Berlin that countries like China would not wait for the west to set standards for the Internet. (AFP)
Updated 25 June 2019

Governments must regulate social networks: Facebook’s Clegg

  • Clegg said there was a “pressing need” for new “rules of the road” on issues including data privacy and election rules

LONDON: Governments, not companies, must regulate social networks, Facebook’s head of global affairs and former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, said Monday.
“It’s not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules. It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so,” Clegg told the BBC in an interview.
Clegg, the former leader of British Liberal Democrats party, said there was a “pressing need” for new “rules of the road” on issues including data privacy and election rules.
At the same time, companies such as Facebook should play a “mature role” in advocating regulation, he told the BBC.
Clegg later told an audience in Berlin that countries like China would not wait for the west to set standards for the Internet.
“If we in Europe and America don’t turn off the white noise and begin to work together, we will sleepwalk into a new era where the Internet is no longer a universal space but a series of silos where different countries set their own rules and authoritarian regimes soak up their citizens’ data while restricting their freedom,” he said at the Hertie School of Governance.
“The fact is there is no longer a single unilateral Internet but rather two Internets: China and the rest of the world.”
Clegg said he was in Berlin for the last in a series of meetings with experts around the world about the creation of a Facebook “independent oversight board” that would make binding decisions about content issues such as reported hate speech.
He said the company expected to release a “final charter” for the oversight board this summer.
“But it would be a much easier task as well as a more democratically sound one if some of the decisions that we have to make were instead taken by people who are democratically accountable to the people at large rather than by a private company,” he said.
Britain has said it will make social media bosses personally liable for harmful content and shut down offending platforms under a “world-leading” government plan.
Coming in for heavy criticism over the past year, Facebook has instituted changes, particularly on privacy and the transparency of political campaign ads.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has called for “globally harmonized” online regulation.
Sceptics say Facebook is seeking to buy time amid calls for tougher regulation in the United States and elsewhere — with some calls to break up major tech firms and other activists questioning whether they should maintain immunity from liability for content posted by users.


Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

Updated 20 October 2019

Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

  • There is escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions
  • The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status

FRANKFURT: German flight attendants’ union UFO on Sunday said it would stage an all-day strike at smaller German divisions of airline group Lufthansa in an escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions.
The walkout at Lufthansa brands Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa City Line and Sunexpress had initially been scheduled for 0300-0900 GMT but the union in a statement on Sunday said industrial action would now be extended until midnight local time (2200 GMT), citing threats made by the airline over jobs as reason.
A Lufthansa spokesman said the strike was illegal because UFO’s status as a negotiator on behalf of staff was in doubt.
Lufthansa on Friday had offered a 2 percent pay rise to cabin staff, prompting the union to call off a planned strike at Lufthansa’s namesake core brand at hubs Frankfurt and Munich.
But the dispute deteriorated after UFO found the offer lacked concessions on expenses and employment conditions.
The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status. Lufthansa claims the union’s new leadership team that took office earlier this year was not elected in a way that met legal requirements.