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SA Parliament to invite Facebook for committee meeting

facebook phone data leak

Following a statement by Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme, Parliament’s Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies has agreed to invite Facebook for a meeting to address concerns about the company.

Earlier this week, Van Damme, who is a member of the Portfolio Committee, released a statement asking that Facebook be summoned to Parliament.

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She later confirmed on 16 February that the committee agreed to request a meeting.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased that the Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies has agreed to invite Facebook to meet with the committee,” Van Damme said in a statement.

“We trust that Facebook, in good faith, will accept the offer to appear before the committee.”

Why does Parliament want to meet with Facebook?

Van Damme says that the meeting will address concerns around fake news, disinformation, and misinformation on the platform.

The committee also wants to address concerns around protecting people from hate speech that could result in violence.

The company has faced criticism for its handling of these issues in other countries. This includes its role in the lead-up to a violent insurrection in the US on 6 January.

Van Damme says that Parliament also wants Facebook Africa to outline the ways it will tackle election misinformation.

“Facebook Africa needs to provide a plan on what steps it will be taking in tackling misinformation ahead of the 2021 Local Government Election,” she said.

“We look forward to what we hope will be a fruitful discussion with Facebook,” she added.

While it faces scrutiny abroad, the company is also seeing more concern from government locally.

In January, the Information Regulator of South Africa said it would meet with Facebook over WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. The regulator wants to determine if the new privacy policy will comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

Feature image: Solen Feyissa on Unsplash 

Read more: South African company builds world’s first WhatsApp security chatbot

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