Facebook Is Complicated. That Shouldn’t Stop Lawmakers.

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Facebook Is Complicated. That Shouldn’t Stop Lawmakers.
Congress could address the issue of data collection by adopting European-style data protection policies, requiring stronger user controls
for personal information or requiring social networks to delete certain types of user data automatically after a given time.
If it wanted to, Congress could address the issue of hateful content by adopting strict hate speech laws like the ones
that exist in Germany, which make social platforms liable if they fail to remove hate speech in a timely manner.
It could address the problem of transparency in political ads by passing the Honest Ads Act, a bill
that would subject online political ads to similar disclosure standards as TV and radio political ads.
“It’s never an issue of the members being able to do it — their staff is often incredibly dedicated
and can dig into these issues,” said Ashkan Soltani, a former chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission.
The challenge, Mr. Soltani said, is that there’s a “lost in translation” problem of trying to condense
complex, multifaceted issues into easily digested sound bites that will play well with constituents.
And yet, Congress — with the help of staff experts
and outside advisers — has managed to pass sweeping legislation to prevent excesses and bad behavior in those sectors.
Lawmakers could propose a bill that would prevent large social media platforms from opening themselves up to outside developers.


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