A scathing British parliamentary report on Monday branded Facebook "digital gangsters" who failed to fight the spread of bogus information and violated data privacy.
Lawmakers´ 18-month investigation into tech companies and disinformation accused the planet ´s media platform of trying to conceal the extent of interference in elections.
Facebook is coming to Russia´s usage of stories and ads that are targeted to sway the 2016 US presidential election and a series of votes.
Its executives have been accused of trying to hide or suppress signs of meddling. Parliamentary committee chair Damian Collins stated Facebook "deliberately sought to frustrate our job by providing incomplete, disingenuous and at times misleading answers to our questions".
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook co-founder turned down three requests to appear before the committee. "Firms like Facebook shouldn't be allowed to act like ´digital gangsters´ in the internet world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law," that the 108-page report stated.
The committee urged that a compulsory code of ethics for all companies that would be overseen by an independent UK regulator. It said Facebook should be compelled to take down "sources of content that is harmful". "We further recommend that the Government launches an independent investigation to past elections -- such as the UK election of 2017, the UK Referendum of 2016, and the Scottish Referendum of 2014 -- to explore what actually occurred with regard to international influence," the report said.
Russia has denied backing Britain´s decision to leave the European Union or covertly backing pro-Brexit leaders. Facebook spokesman Karim Palant said executives in the California company "discuss the committee´s concerns about false news and election integrity."
"We are open to significant regulation and encourage the committee´s recommendation for electoral law reform," Palant stated in a statement released to AFP. However, Collins said policy changes which were largely aimed at fending off regulation making it liable for the spread of malicious tales have been adopted by Facebook. "They have taken a step, mainly I think, to cancel legislation," Collins told BBC radio. "It shouldn´t be down to Mark Zuckerberg to ascertain what the code is for election advertisements in the UK through Facebook."
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