Technologists argue strategies to control social media, protect personal information | News | Harvard Crimson

Lawmakers and policymakers discuss strategies to protect personal information on platforms including Facebook, Google and Twitter in a panel discussion at the University of Berkeley Klein Center, which studies the challenges facing the Internet on Tuesday.

The discussion highlighted the main event hosted by the Social Media Institute, a three-year “pop-up” research team set up to “accelerate growth on social media to address the most pressing issues. In three years, the institute will invite scholars in the field of education.

Tuesday Webburn Stanford Law School Professor Nathaniel Farsley has been identified. Nabiha Seid, president of the technology department, Nicole Wong, former US deputy chief of technology; And Ethan Zuckerman, director of digital public infrastructure initiatives at the University of Massachusetts.

Jonathan El Zitrain, a professor at Harvard Law School, said the institute was “already working really hard” to control social media companies and determine who should access users’ personal information.

From different backgrounds, panelists exchanged ideas on how to protect the public interest by thinking of “information-based control over social networks.”

The panel came weeks after former Facebook information scientist and fraudster Francis Hawgen testified before Congress. Haugen provided internal Facebook research to the Wall Street Journal, which described the harmful effects of Instagram and Facebook on the community.

Farsi, a Stanford professor who has worked on Facebook for the past five years, launched the panel with an insight. He said a law has been enacted by the Federal Trade Commission to force social media companies to share information with outside experts in difficult situations.

We cannot live in a world where most people now understand what the human experience is all about and are bound by the high profits of these companies, says Farsley. I realized that the government was the only answer here.

Based on her experience as a journalist, Seid urged viewers to be skeptical of reports by technology companies on their own services. Instead, she suggested that independent researchers and journalists ask for information from social media users to conduct their own research.

Umas Professor Zuckerman said he supports a combination of third-party research and high-tech government regulation. He cites YouTube as an example of inadequate third-party research.

“YouTube has made a huge impact, but it’s amazing,” Zuckerman said. “Studying at the time was a pain in the ass. You must capture, record, and analyze the videos.

The government can solve this problem by allowing YouTube to provide internal information.

Former US official Wong addresses the challenges of social media regulation.

“We are at the beginning of the control process,” Wong said. What our policymakers see when they struggle is that they are unsure of what to control because privacy is different from misinformation.

Wong has come up with a multi-step approach to balance growing transparency with consumer protection. According to Wong, consumers, journalists and researchers should have access to information based on their emotional state.

While he believes some technology companies are engaging with the public in good faith, Wong said others – particularly Facebook – are blurring their technology to make their brand a priority at a loss of public interest.

“There are some companies that are really trying to be ahead,” Wong said. They can get into an honest conversation – so what is the system we are building? ”

Others choose to misrepresent and promote what she calls “toxic positives.”

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