Facebook is coming to Parliament, DA says

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Facebook's WhatsApp has come under fire for controversial changes to its privacy policy update. (Getty)
Facebook's WhatsApp has come under fire for controversial changes to its privacy policy update. (Getty)

Facebook representatives will appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies on 25 May, the DA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, will be expected to explain what steps it is taking in tackling harmful misinformation, particularly ahead of the 2021 local government elections, Phumzile van Damme, DA member of the committee, said in a statement.

"Facebook often tailors plans for countries ahead of elections to guard against harmful misinformation. We would like to see the same done for South Africa."

She said the meeting will also be "the beginning of discussions regarding Facebook paying South African media houses for carrying their content as was recently successfully implemented in Australia".

The Australian government recently introduced new legislation forcing the tech giants to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms.

A bitter battle erupted, which saw Facebook "switching off" Australian news on its platform for a week. In the end, however, both Facebook and Google announced agreements with Australian media group to pay for their content.

Van Damme also referred to the protection of the private data of South African users of Facebook-owned platforms as a point of discussion.

Facebook's WhatsApp has come under fire for controversial changes to its privacy policy update, which has also been blasted by South Africa’s Information Regulator.

The committee has also invited Google and Twitter, Van Damme says.

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