New Delhi, Feb 19: Social media giants like Facebook need much stricter regulations to prevent them getting away with behaving like "digital gangsters", a UK parliamentary report on fake news concluded.
In its final report at the end of an 18-month investigation, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Selection Committee accused Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg of showing contempt for British parliament in refusing three separate demands to give evidence, and instead sending junior employees unable to answer all the questions.
Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like digital gangsters' in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law, the report notes.
"By choosing not to appear before the Committee and by choosing not to respond personally to any of our invitations, Mark Zuckerberg has shown contempt towards the UK Parliament, notes the report, which is extremely critical of Facebook's online model.
The committee began conducting its inquiry into the spread of fake news last year in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, which revealed widespread misuse of public data by the now-defunct British company.
The committee's 'Disinformation and 'fake news': Final Report' reiterates the role played by CA's parent company, SCL Group, in some foreign elections in countries like India, which had also been among the conclusions of its interim report last year.
"Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised 'dark adverts' from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day," concluded the report.
"The big tech companies are failing in the duty of care they owe to their users to act against harmful content, and to respect their data privacy rights," it added.