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Galway TD to represent Ireland at Westminster committee scrutinising social media

Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton will serve as Ireland’s representative to an International Grand Committee in Westminster looking at disinformation spread online.

The Committee has invited head of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg to appear before them to answer questions about the role of platforms like Facebook in spreading fake news.

Deputy Naughton, who chairs the Oireachtas Communications Committee, intends to ask Mr Zuckerberg about the growth of fake news and disinformation on social media.

“The goal of our parliamentary committees is to scrutinise digital policy, including disinformation and the governance of the internet,” she said.

“This committee is a very important event addressing common concerns affecting the people of Ireland, Australia, The UK, Argentina and Canada.”

So far Mark Zuckerberg has declined to attend the International Committee, where multiple countries have expressed an interest in questioning him.

It comes after he once again refused an invitation to appear before the House of Commons to answer questions about Facebook’s conduct.

This International Grand Committee represents 170 million internet users within the countries taking part in it.

Deputy Naughton described the gathering in London as a “landmark event” that shows how both parliaments can still work together in a post-Brexit world.

Ireland serves as the European headquarters for many web and social media giants like Facebook and Google.

This makes it all the more important that Ireland hold them account, Deputy Naughton said. She previously told Facebook representatives that appeared before the Dáil Communications Committee that social media cannot be allowed to regulate itself.

The Committee is now considering legislation that would regulate social media to protect vulnerable people.

With all that needs to be done, Hildegarde Naughton claims that it’s imperative the Mr Zuckerberg work with the international community.

“We have reiterated our invitation collectively in the hope that he will attend the meeting in London,” she said. “We need Mr Zuckerberg to engage with us given the seriousness of the issues that we face.”

Briain Kelly
Email: news@34.245.10.193
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