The Democratic Alliance said on Monday that it will request that Facebook be summoned to appear in parliament to face questions about its role in “misinformation” and the protection of digital privacy of South African users.
The portfolio committee on communications & digital technologies will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Tuesday where the draft programme of the first term of this year’s parliamentary calendar will be discussed, the DA said.
“The reason for summoning Facebook – which has an office in Johannesburg – is with the view of ascertaining what steps the tech giant will be taking in tackling harmful misinformation,” it said in a statement.
“The spread of Covid-19-related misinformation primarily through Facebook and WhatsApp – a company owned by Facebook – highlights the need for parliament to take an active role in curbing misinformation.”
However, the party said its aim in seeking to summons Facebook is not to “exert control” over the company or to “limit freedom of expression”, but rather to “ensure that the interests of the people of South Africa are protected”.
The DA said that although it wants Facebook to appear first, it would also like to summon Google, Twitter and others to appear before the portfolio committee. It said it is “hopeful” that it’s proposal will be “considered favourably” by non-DA members of the committee. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media