Oireachtas committee demands response from Facebook in light of revelations – Naughton

-   Hildegarde Naughton TD

Both Facebook executives and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner will be called to appear before the Oireachtas Communications Committee following shocking revelations in a TV documentary.

Committee Chairperson and Fine Gael TD for Galway West, Hildegarde Naughton said she will be asking senior Facebook representatives to face the committee in the wake of details revealed by a Channel 4 investigation on Tuesday night.

Deputy Naughton said that the Dispatches programme had uncovered disturbing practices and serious child-protection issues arising from the fact that extreme, abusive or graphic content was being permitted on the social-media platform.

“It is alarming and completely unacceptable that Facebook has apparently breached its own rules by allowing disturbing content to remain online in order to protect and boost revenue,” she said.

“It is sickening and hugely concerning, and it requires an immediate and fulsome response. It is for this reason that I intend to ask Facebook executives to appear before the Committee for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

“It is also vital that we look at our own legislation and establish whether there is adequate and appropriate regulation to address the concerns that have emerged in light of last night’s programme,” added Deputy Naughton.

The Fine Gael TD said she also intended to ask Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon to attend the Committee to discuss issues pertaining to Facebook.

As Facebook is headquartered in Dublin, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has responsibility for the protection of citizens’ data across the whole of Europe.

“The revelations contained in the Channel 4 programme suggest that Facebook is compromising social responsibility for financial gain, regardless of the impact that this could have on young people in particular.

“This requires a response, not just from the company, but also from legislators, to make sure that the protection of children remains paramount in these circumstances,” added Deputy Naughton.

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