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Laws to regulate Facebook's algorithm?

From the Washington Post:

On Facebook, you decide whom to befriend, which pages to follow, which groups to join. But once you’ve done that, it’s Facebook that decides which of their posts you see each time you open your feed — and which you don’t.

The software that makes those decisions for each user, based on a secret ranking formula devised by Facebook that includes more than 10,000 factors, is commonly referred to as “the news feed algorithm,” or sometimes just “the algorithm.”  ...

Amid a broader backlash against Big Tech, Haugen’s testimony and disclosures have brought fresh urgency to debates over how to rein in social media and Facebook in particular. And as lawmakers and advocates cast about for solutions, there’s growing interest in an approach that’s relatively new on the policy scene: regulating algorithms themselves, or at least making companies more responsible for their effects. The big question is whether that can be accomplished without ruining what people still like about social media — or running afoul of the First Amendment. ...

One way to regulate algorithms without directly regulating online speech would be to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields websites and apps from being sued for hosting or moderating content posted by users. Several bills propose removing that protection for certain categories of harmful content that platforms promote via their algorithms, while keeping it in place for content they merely host without amplifying.

See also Opinion in NY Times from former Facebooker

 

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