Policy report

This publication documents a timeline of major events over the course of Facebook’s history that demonstrate the unprecedented power the platform wields over politics and information systems globally. The authors argue that Australia remains vulnerable to mis- and disinformation, and does not have effective safeguards to shield the upcoming federal election from Facebook’s influence.

Key points:

  • Facebook has undermined democracy in the Philippines, Ethiopia, Myanmar, the US and Australia.
  • The timeline reveals numerous incidents of serious societal harm, and a repeated pattern of behaviour by Facebook.
  • Given the business model is based on extractive data practices and algorithmic amplification of sensational and extreme content, there is a fundamental tension between what is best for the company and what is best for the public.
  • Australia continues to use self- and co-regulatory models to govern 'big tech', despite these models not being adequate to address the severity of the threats this industry now poses to Australian society. Direct government regulation is the way forward.


Publication Details
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