Zammit Dimech discusses working towards a safer Facebook

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Zammit Dimech discusses working towards a safer FacebookMEP Francis Zammit Dimech, has said that “we need to step up our efforts to stop the dissemination of fake news, hate speech (including that inciting aggression) and terrorist content online.”

He added that, “security is a top priority and a big concern for citizens which we want to address. At the same time, we also want to ensure that any new EU regulation will not suppress freedom of expression or impede dissemination of journalistic, research or educational content.”

The MEP made these remarks during a meeting held at the Facebook offices in Brussels to discuss a new regulation being proposed by the European Commission on the prevention of dissemination of terrorist content online.

Zammit Dimech explained that he met with various stakeholders over the past weeks to discuss the matter including Google and Facebook and has tabled several amendments to strengthen the regulation.

Zammit Dimech said that he wanted truly independent authorities in Member States to be involved in removal of illegal content online.

He said “imagine having administrative authorities which may be very political who are responsible to issue a removal order of a particular content. This would be antidemocratic. This is why whilst insisting that there should be only one competent authority (which can be an already existing body) there is the need of judicial involvement or other means to ensure that the competent authority acts independently of government.”

Zammit Dimech has called for transparency and for the competent authority to publish annual transparency reports on action taken including number of removal orders made.

He also called for the establishment of effective and accessible mechanisms allowing submission of a complaint when content has been removed.

During the meeting, Zammit Dimech also discussed the need for Facebook to strengthen their proactive measures to counteract hate speech and fake news.

He referred to cases whereby Maltese personalities were used to disseminate fake news including pro-government news through sponsored adverts encouraging Maltese and Gozitan Facebook users to visit websites and articles with scams. He pointed out that the adverts took weeks to be removed.

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