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Jakarta Post

Indonesian lawmakers grill Facebook over data breach, fake news

  • Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Karina Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 17, 2018   /   08:07 pm
Indonesian lawmakers grill Facebook over data breach, fake news The icon for the social networking app Facebook on a smartphone screen. Facebook said on March 28 that it would overhaul its privacy settings. (AFP/ Mladen Antonov)

Members of the House of Representatives Commission I spent five hours questioning representatives of Facebook Indonesia on Tuesday.

Lawmakers' questions ranged from privacy concerns and fake news to worries that user information may be misused for electoral purposes.

"I’m not convinced that Facebook is able to protect our personal data," commission member Evita Nursanty said to Facebook Indonesia public policy lead Ruben Hattari and Facebook Asia Pacific vice president of public policy Simon Miller.

Facebook previously announced that more than 1 million Indonesian users had their account information "improperly shared with [political consultancy firm] Cambridge Analytica."

"Cambridge Analytica was a political consultant for one of the candidates [in the United States presidential election]. This year we have regional elections and next year we will have presidential elections," Evita said. "How can you convince us that you are neutral, that your information will not be used by a third party?"

She went on to criticize Facebook's handling of fake news on its platform.

"Facebook does not have a filter for hoaxes, incitement or defamation," she said. "Where is Facebook's accountability for the circulation of these types of news?"

Commission member Charles Honoris echoed her concern.  

"Social media is often used to provoke social unrest. What is Facebook's process for handling hoaxes and hate speech?" he said.  "How much does Facebook take down?"

Miller said Facebook was pursuing legal action against Cambridge Analytica and acknowledged media reports that the firm had also been involved in elections outside the US.

He also said the social media platform had clear policies against content such as hate speech and pornography, which could be reported by users to be taken down.

"We have thousands of people working to keep people safe and to ensure we review reports quickly. We receive 3 million reports every week," he said.  "We also know that we need to get better." (ahw)