British Lawmakers: '' Facebook Is a Digital Gangster, Breaking Our Competition Laws''

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The British lawmakers accused Facebook in an intentional breach of data privacy and competition law, following the outcome of an 18-month investigation by the government's Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee, released Monday.

The devastating government report labeled Facebook and its management team as ''digital gangsters'' and recommended urgent statutory regulation.

 The British lawmakers made it clear that Facebook and other tech moguls should not be allowed to act like this and consider themselves to be ahead beyond and above the law. 

According to the committee's chairman, Damian Collins, the democracy in the country is at risk as the citizens are a target of disinformation and personalized ''dark adverts'' from unidentifiable sources, delivered through leading social media networks everyone uses daily.

The report accused Facebook's co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg of contempt for parliament as he refused three separate demands to give evidence. Instead, he sent junior team members of Facebook to answer the committee's questions which they were not able to do.

The 108-page report also warned that the British electoral law is not suitable for the purpose and vulnerable to third-party interference, including Russian government agents attempting to manipulate elections.

Collins also pointed out that the British government should open an independent investigation into foreign influence, disinformation, voter manipulation and illegal sharing of personal data in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum, and the 2017 general election.

The committee has also criticized Mark Zuckerberg personally saying that he failed to show an appropriate level of leadership and personal responsibility as someone who is managing one of the world's largest tech companies.

Furthermore, the report accused Facebook in abusing its dominant market position by crushing rivals and preventing them from competing with Facebook or its subsidiaries.

In response to the accusations, Facebook's UK public policy manager Karim Palant rejected the suggestions that the company had breached data protection and competition laws. However, it agreed with the government's concerns about spreading of fake news and possible election integrity.

In addition to that, Palant emphasized the contribution Facebook made to this report by answering 700 questions during the past year and a half and having four of its most senior executives involved in the case.

Palant also confirmed that Facebook was open to ''meaningful'' regulation and it also supported the recommendation for electoral law amendments. Palant highlighted that the social media giant supported effective privacy law to ensure maximum transparent for users.

Facebook has already made substantial changes so that every political advertisement on the platform needs authorization. It also should mention its sponsors, and subsequently, it will be stored in Facebook's searchable archive for seven years.

Do you agree with the British government? Would you describe Facebook as a ''digital gangster''?