Facebook Files: MEPs to invite whistleblower Frances Haugen to a hearing

Lead MEPs from the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee decided to invite Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to a hearing on 8 November.

The decision to organise a public hearing in the European Parliament on “Whistleblowers’ testimonies on the negative impact of big tech companies’ products on users” was taken this afternoon by the Chair and the coordinators of the political groups in the committee. After the meeting, Chair Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA, DE) said:

“Whistleblowers like Frances Haugen show the urgent need to set democratic rules for the online world in the interest of users. Her revelations lay bare the inherent conflict between the platform’s business model and users’ interests. It shows that we need strong rules for content moderation and far-reaching transparency obligations in Europe.

It also shows that corporate self-regulation has not worked. With the Digital Services Act, the European Union is on the right track to fight hate speech and disinformation online by addressing business models that use algorithms to sell more advertising, even if this has a detrimental effect on society. We need to regulate the whole system that favours disinformation and violence over factual content – and we need to enforce it effectively.

All allegations in the ‘Facebook Files’ must be investigated. As the Internal Market Committee is currently negotiating the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, a public hearing with Frances Haugen will enrich the democratic discourse and our current legislative work in the committees concerned”.

Work on regulating platforms is under way in Parliament

Online safety is among the priorities of the ongoing legislative work in the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

MEPs are currently discussing how the proposals on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), presented by the European Commission in December 2020, should be amended and improved. This legislation is Europe’s chance to shape the digital economy at EU level as well as to become a global standard-setter.

The draft reports on the DSA and DMA, drafted by Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK) and Andreas Schwab (EPP, DE), respectively, were presented in committee on 21 June, followed by a discussion on other amendments on 27 September. A total of 2297 amendments have been tabled in the committee to the DSA and 1199 to the DMA. Draft compromise amendments will be considered on 27-28 October and the vote in committee is scheduled for 8 November. The mandate to start negotiations with Council, the other co-legislator, would then need to be endorsed by the plenary (in December, tbc).