back to article 10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

Just four of 14 social networks asked to consult with the UK government on regulation of social media attended the talks, so ministers have revealed plans to require rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material and substantial fines for not doing so. Minister for Digital Margot James and Culture Secretary Matt Hancock …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

    I look forward to a snap General Election where we can clean out the Stables that are Parliament.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

      Why? No matter how you vote, its always the government that gets in.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

        Why? No matter how you vote, its always the government that gets in.

        Well, that's not particularly profound.

        And neither really is the disappointing reality that's it's usually the same type of numpties standing for election every time.

        It's like having only one local store which only sells a couple of brands of sour milk, and you can't take it or leave it as it's delivered to your door and poured on your cereal anyway.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

      But the Daily Heil readers will still vote for the chinless Tory and the Mirror readers will vote for Corbyn and his rudderless chums.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

        "Mirror readers will vote for Corbyn and his rudderless chums."

        The Tories are also, currently, Rudderless.

        Too warm for a coat ATM so I'll just leave it.

        1. teebie

          Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

          "The Tories are also, currently, Rudderless."

          Ruddless. The tories are currenrly Ruddless

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

          The Tories may be Rudd-less, but they are definitely not rudderless.

          There are in fact 7 different Tory rudders on the good ship Blighty - some people even have their hands on more than one rudder. There are also several engines, mostly operating in opposite directions and pulling the boat apart.

          The captain just stands by the wheel murmuring "strong and steady, strong and steady" whilst the damn thing spins like a catherine wheel, and her crew keep tying her shoelaces together.

          Rudderless would be a fucking improvement.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. 10forcash Bronze badge

    "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

    For the advertisers.

    A focal point of abject misery for it's users product

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

      No. The number one imperative of a company is to generate a profit. Sometimes the definition of what the profit should look like can sometimes be flexible, it's still the incentive.

      On another not, look at how magical thinking around the over-hyped AI, or machine learning for that matter, is roped in to say this is possible with a wave of a politician's hands. Even if you could get them to understand the problems here, you'd never get them to stop invoking Silicon Valley as the great land of Oz.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

        Magical thinking seems to be the fundamental basis of all Tory policies these days - unicorns, clever cameras that can detect a bottle of whiskey and a Polish plumber in the boot of a car, and now AI.

        I wonder what would happen if we asked an AI about whether our politicians are fit for purpose? Smoke coming out of the back?

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

          "I wonder what would happen if we asked an AI about whether our politicians are fit for purpose? Smoke coming out of the back?"

          I don't know, let's hand it over to the Allied Mastercomputer and see what it says, shall we?

          1. fedoraman

            Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

            I have no mouth, and I must scream -- Great, and horrifying, story.

        2. Jedit
          Flame

          "what would happen if we asked an AI about whether our politicians are fit for purpose?"

          What smoke coming out of the back? It's just a coincidence that the AI looks just like a crematorium oven. Now if the honourable member for Ham-on-Rye can just lie down, please, we need to put you inside so the machine can scan you.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

        "On another not, look at how magical thinking around the over-hyped AI, or machine learning for that matter, is roped in to say this is possible with a wave of a politician's hands."

        Not that it matters how it's done. Doing it just becomes a cost of doing business irrespective of the AI (that corporations have been hyping) or lots of low-wage workers. It's not just going to be the UK who takes this attitude and by ignoring the issue - and the politicians - the corporations are going to find the cost to be more than it might have been had they taken the matter more seriously, been less encouraging of abuses and more careful about managing politicians' expectations.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

        > The number one imperative of a company is to generate a profit.

        It is not.

        The goals of a company will be stated in its founding and/or policy documents, and may or may not involve generating a profit, either as a goal in itself or as a means to achieving something else.

        Perhaps you meant "revenue" instead of "profit"?

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

          > The number one imperative of a company is to generate a profit.

          It is not.

          The goals of a company will be stated in its founding and/or policy documents, and may or may not involve generating a profit, either as a goal in itself or as a means to achieving something else.

          Perhaps you meant "revenue" instead of "profit"?

          Revenue is vanity, Profit is sanity.

          The company then might spend most of the profit on worthy causes, but they can only do that as long as the company makes money.

        2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

          Nope, I meant profit. I did point out that profit can have a different meaning according to company's definition of the term. I could have made that clearer. I will, however, leave with this quote:

          "The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit." --- Samuel Gompers

        3. Mike Ozanne

          Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

          "The goals of a company will be stated in its founding and/or policy documents, and may or may not involve generating a profit, either as a goal in itself or as a means to achieving something else.

          Perhaps you meant "revenue" instead of "profit"?"

          Oh Bollocks a commercial enterprise that doesn't yield a profit will eventually stop being a commercial enterprise altogether. It doesn't matter what vain, trendy, virtue-signalling bullshit it puts in its policy documents if it fails to make money.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place"

      Now that statement is either political naivete at it's most dangerous or a really ham-fisted attempt at spin.

      The Culture Secretary said that?

      Are we absolutely sure it's not a line from Forrest Gump?

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

    'We are going to ask social media companies to take down abusive content immediately'

    I have some serious doubt about the UK government classifying anything as objectionable material.

    Based on recent examples quite a few statements by other countries which it claimed to false and/or objectionable material proved to be true in the end. Like it together with Sweden, CZ and USA having Novichok in the 90-es. Now fully confirmed: https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2018-05/geheimdienst-nowitschok-bnd-nervengift-russland

    It screamed bloody murder when that was stated 2 months ago. Under this law that would have had to be removed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

      > Under this law that would have had to be removed.

      In no universe is "false" a synonym for "abusive".

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

        In no universe is "false" a synonym for "abusive".

        Wait and see and remember my word - this will go together with "fake news counter" censorship into the same legislation making it clear that as far as HMG is concerned false==abusive=="inconvenient truth"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

        > In no universe is "false" a synonym for "abusive".

        Voland's example wasn't either, yet didn't stop No 10 from screaming murder, as he pointed out.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "rapid removal of abusive and objectionable material"

      "I have some serious doubt about the UK government classifying anything as objectionable material."

      They are unlikely to have much idea, quite a lot of their own statements are objectionable and could even be construed as hateful.

      Teresa May:- “The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants”.

      Just one example that has also gone on to prove flawed and unreasonable to so many people.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Just wait

    they'll come a' sucking up when they want something.

    I'd tend to ignore the 10 Social networks before the British Government.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Just wait

      I didn't even know there were 10 social networks.

      1. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Re: Just wait

        "I didn't even know there were 10 social networks."

        If you read the piece, you would know there are at least 14.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just wait

          "I didn't even know there were 10 social networks, until I read the article".

          TFTFY.

          Why so patronising :/

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Just wait

          Christ, you must be worse at parties than I am.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just wait

            > Christ, you must be worse at parties than I am.

            I never saw old Ben Yousef at any parties but he's a popular lad¹ so he must have been quite the animal in his day.

            ¹ Maybe not with the Romans.

  5. b0llchit
    Facepalm

    Take it down

    I find that quoted tweet exceptionally offensive and demand it be taken down immediately. The author must be fined for quoting a person with no brains; the quoted person must be fined for having no brains; el Reg must be fined for reproducing no brains.

    There, AI at its finest.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Take it down

      I find your comment exceptionally offensive and demand it be taken down immediately. I don't know why and it doesn't matter, but I'm really, really angry and Something Must Be Done!

      (Sorry. Channelling my inner Junior Minister.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take it down

        I haven't read the tweet. I now however feel I need to read the tweet to see what the fuss is about.

        1. Allonymous Coward
          Flame

          Re: Take it down

          I haven't read the tweet. But some of my friends on social media apparently did, and are demanding for it to be taken down. So I'm going to demand the same thing.

    2. Haku

      Re: Take it down

      "I was offended" - Steve Hughes

      youtube.com/watch?v=ceS_jkKjIgo (2m24s)

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

    Who thinks the the UK Government matters and who does not.

    And wheather they turned up to the relevant EU Commissioner hearing instead.

    60million people versus 490million people in the rest of the EU.

    So that's making "Making Britain stronger" means, as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

      So that's "Making Britain stronger" as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.

      Apparently, Europe are going to realise they need the UK and accede to all Brexit wishlist demands

      Or so most the Cabinet seem to believe anyway.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Joke

        Apparently, Europe are going to realise they need the UK and accede to all Brexit wishlist

        May: How are the talks going Boris

        Boris: Very well. My sources tell me my plan is working perfectly, although the other side continues to posture for effect.

        May: Who exactly are your "Sources" Boris?

        Boris: I've been using "The European Research Group." I find them very sound on the important stuff.

    2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

      > So that's "Making Britain stronger" as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.

      Your friends thought it was the anagram round in "Countdown" - not so much global Britain as gob-all Britain.

    3. ToddRundgrensUtopia

      Re: Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

      60million people versus 490million It's not a playground fight John, then again ......

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        60million people versus 490million It's not a playground fight John, then again

        Tell me that after the UK tries to negotiate any new trade deals and isn't part of a 550million person trading block and 1 of 1 instead of 1 of 28.

        Back here in 2022 say?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK taxpayers won’t have to fund

    How does f*ck right off sound? If for one minute they think that me as a UK taxpayer is going to fund the clean up of social media I don't even use then they can suck my balls. You want a revolution? That there is revolution talk. I will seriously go full revolution on all their asses, no more putting the bins out, I'll stop paying the tv tax and I'll write a strongly worded letter to the newspapers.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      I will..go full revolution on all their asses, no..putting the bins out, I'll stop paying the tv tax

      Nice.

      Nearly thought you were serious there. The "Strongly worded letter to the newspapers" nailed it.

      Or in the words of media mogul CA Magnusen "You can do what you like in Britain. They are a nation of herbivores. I try everything in Britain first. If it works there I try it in a real country."

    2. ' DROP TABLE CommentTards;

      Re: UK taxpayers won’t have to fund

      Just tweet them, oh...

  8. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    So, everyone else has to tighten up . . .

    but Leveson is taken down a dark alley and shot.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: So, everyone else has to tighten up . . .

      That tells you who the Tories are going to count on to win the next election. Though of course they're all utterly confident they will win because by then everyone will agree that they've made a brilliant job of delivering Brexit to the lasting benefit of everyone in the country.

  9. Ole Juul Silver badge

    mystery

    Is there something which actually prevents these people from understanding how the internet functions?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Is there something which..prevents these people..understanding how the internet functions?

      Yes.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." as Upton Sinclair put it.

      Sinclair ran for Governor of California in the late 1940's.

      His Campaign Manager was a certain Dr RA Heinlein.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Is there something which..prevents these people..understanding how the internet functions?

        And another "yes" from me.

        If "it" wasn't on his PPE course (yes; Hancock studied the Politician's Favorite) then "it" simply doesn't exist.

        I wonder whether we should read more into the following in his Wikipedia entry: After university, Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company, such as "he left because he didn't understand it". I wonder just how short a time "briefly" actually means.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Is there something which..prevents these people..understanding how the internet functions?

        "as Upton Sinclair put it."

        Or as someone else put it "I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you."

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Is there something which..prevents these people..understanding how the internet functions?

          >Or as someone else put it "I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you."

          I wish that was true. Unfortunately, I'm currently taking a break from trying to understand why these network devices don't want to talk to each other, which I am doing so the people who own said equipment don't have to. Once it starts to work, I can but hope that those people don't find a way to break it again, because they're definitely not going to understand it then either.

    2. nethack47

      Re: mystery

      I think they understand vaguely about the internet but understand very well that to a majority of voters this looks like they are taking action and sticking it to those pesky social media companies. Given the polarisation of debate and general prevention of discourse they're probably trying to get access to a ban-hammer on platforms they do not control. It is never for the public now is it.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: mystery

        Indeed. None of these people is stupid. They're just clinging on to a bandwagon in the hope of building political capital before jumping onto the next one. They do it because it works and people (party or plebs) vote for them if they do.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: mystery

        "they're probably trying to get access to a ban-hammer on platforms they do not control. "

        One assumes they've never heard of the Streisand Effect.

    3. ToddRundgrensUtopia

      Re: mystery

      Ole Juul,

      Yes no one in cabinet with any technical background at all, (not IT), no engineers, physicists, just economists, lawyers and history grads, (oh and May was a pebble counter). The last labour gov' was the same; what hope do we have?

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The wrong medium for the message

    > consultation with social media on such matters has gone badly: just four of fourteen social networks invited to consultation talks showed up.

    Why did Hancock expect them to turn up in person. This sort of thing sounds ideal for a group chat on Facebook.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The wrong medium for the message

      To be fair, the government did first offer to host the consultation on Google+, but there were too many blank looks.

  11. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Half a century

    It was only in 1968 that the official role of the Lord Chamberlain in censorship was lifted, leaving the job to unofficial channels. Today's fuss over online contents looks a lot like a call to restore the Lord Chamberlain's role, with the difference being in the sheer numbers of people submitting themselves (albeit not always intentionally) to be censored.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "should use AI . ."

    Indeed. If only we had AI, there would be a great many things we could try and apply it to.

    What I find interesting is the "social sites should police themselves" attitude. Neatly allows you to wash your hands of the issue, doesn't it ?

    You don't ask supermarkets to "police" their customers, do you ? Malls do not have SWAT teams. So why should it be up to social sites to decide what to take down ? Youtube does takedowns based on DCMA requests and that is generally very badly handled because there is very little recourse. You want to see that reproduced on FaceBook and Twitter ? I don't use them and don't really care, but I am convinced that it is a governments' job to force the application of the law.

    So someone is not happy about something that has been published, he goes to the cops and files a complaint. The cops check that the illegal nature of the thing is true, then send a takedown request - which is mandatory because The Law - and the site complies, alerting the original poster that a specific piece of his published data has been placed under legal lockdown. If that one is not happy about it, he can file a counter-claim and go to court.

    Of course, depending on the level of illegality, he might not even need to go and file a counter-claim ; the police could be knocking at his door to tell him in person that what he posted was not a good idea and could you please follow us, sir ?

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: You don't ask supermarkets to "police" their customers, do you ?

      However, large shops do generally have security guards, and I would expect that in the case of a non-trivial inter-customer fracas of some kind that that security (or the management) would intervene and try to either calm the situation or move it from the store, and, if necessary, call the police to deal with it.

      I would not expect them to pretend it wasn't happening and/or do nothing, claiming it was merely someone else's problem and nothing to do with them [*]

      [*] Not the least in their own self interest - that sort of thing is likely to be bad for business.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: large shops do generally have security guards

        They do, but said guards have no right to frisk you, they can only detain you until the police arrive.

        They generally intimidate you to get you to caugh up whatever they're looking for, but they have no right to touch you.

        And supermarkets have no detention cells.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: large shops do generally have security guards

          "They do, but said guards have no right to frisk you, they can only detain you until the police arrive."

          Statistically you're more likely to be murdered by an armed mall security guard in the USA than by any other type of perpetrator.

          On the other hand, statistically you're also more likely to work in the mall concerned, rather than being a customer.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "should use AI . ."

      What I find interesting is the "social sites should police themselves" attitude. Neatly allows you to wash your hands of the issue, doesn't it ?

      Nonsense. They know perfectly well that's not going to fly.

      The object here is to hopefully push it until it becomes a (flawed) reality, then use the failure as an excuse to implement further censorship/blocking/report abusive material - shop in your neighbours, [facebook] friends and family (fabulous prizes to be won) 'for the public good'.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "should use AI . ."

      Malls do not have SWAT teams.

      I wouldn't be so sure about that, given the way America is heading.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online Carp???

    When Melanie has finished making the covfefe maybe she could stop her partner from spreading lies.

    (may need heavy frying pan)

  14. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Pray tell us

    Was El Reg one of the fourteen companies? Or are we too puny to be relevant?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Pray tell us

      Probably. Can you name fourteen social networks? I don't think I could.

      Facebook (also owns Instagram and Whatsapp)

      Twitter

      Oath (owns AOL, Tumblr, and Yahoo!)

      Bebo

      Snap Chat

      Blackberry Messenger

      Google Plus

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Pray tell us

        Facebook (also owns Instagram and Whatsapp)

        Twitter

        Oath (owns AOL, Tumblr, and Yahoo!)

        Bebo

        Snap Chat

        Blackberry Messenger

        Google Plus

        Is that list from a couple of years ago?

        I wasn't even aware Bebo was still going? And you left out LinkedIn - it's getting more annoying than FB (and if you are of working age, harder to ignore).

        1. Michael Strorm

          Bebooh To Be Ah

          @Teiwaz; "I wasn't even aware Bebo was still going?"

          Years ago- it must have been before the 2013 bankruptcy- someone I worked with used Bebo and even *then* I was like "are people still using that?!"

          But the original Bebo has been dead and gone for several years now. After the company went bankrupt it was sold back to the original founders (#) who shut down the original site and relaunched the company as a designer of social apps that doesn't even call itself a social network any more (##).

          Regardless, it's obviously irrelevant nowadays. Involving them in this would be like parliament in 1991 demanding the remnants of Kajagoogoo answer questions about those newfangled illegal acid house raves.

          (#) $1m, compared to the $850m (of which $595m was theirs) they apparently sold it for in the first place.

          (##) Wikipedia states that "Bebo [..] now describes itself as "a company that dreams up ideas for fun social apps;" Grant Denholm, the man behind the Bebo relaunch, has confirmed that the site will not be returning as a social network but as a company that makes social apps."

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Pray tell us

          " And you left out LinkedIn - it's getting more annoying than FB (and if you are of working age, harder to ignore)."

          I thought I had them blocked ouf almost totally - until I found Linkedin preinstalled on my new Samsung phone - and unremovable without rooting as it's in the rom sectiion.

          I think one of the strongest anti-sales tactic I can think of is simply to publicise that Samsung has stooped to this level.

  15. msknight Silver badge

    I have only one thing to say...

    "He also revealed (PDF) the government is working on a White Paper considering how to ensure social media services verify members’ age so that age restrictions in their terms of service aren’t ignored. ®"

    This isn't going to end well.

    1. Jedihomer Townend
      FAIL

      Re: I have only one thing to say...

      I don't know how... They've nailed it with the pr0n verification, this is surely just a bit of scope creep to that project...

      1. msknight Silver badge

        Re: I have only one thing to say...

        Ah. Nails. So that's their kink. A bit hard core for a politician, I'd have thought, especially after the days of oranges and rope... but I suppose that's progress for you.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: I have only one thing to say...

        I don't know how... They've nailed it with the pr0n verification, this is surely just a bit of scope creep to that project...

        They've nailed pron verification?

        That's already a serious air crash of Lockerbie proportions (yes, bad taste, hence 'coat'), it's just the airplane's not finished yet, but they're already thinking about boarding while congratulating themselves on another safe flight and lining up exciting new routes, but thousands (possibly tens of thousands) are already hideously burned, it just hasn't happened yet.

      3. Graham 32

        Re: I have only one thing to say...

        >They've nailed it with the pr0n verification

        I expected them to wait a while for that to settle in before doing the scope creep to get it covering other websites.

        Interestingly, this could set up a big MindGeek vs Facebook battle for who controls all the user profiles on the internet. I know it's like choosing between Trump or Clinton, but it'll be interesting. And if Facebook doesn't get into the porn industry they're leaving the door open for MindGeek to win. Popcorn time.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: I have only one thing to say...

          And if Facebook doesn't get into the porn industry

          I thought they already were, It spaffs peoples privates at me constantly, not allowed near it at work and I feel intense shame of even thinking about going near it.

          Same thing, whether pink danglies are involved or not

  16. conscience

    Even if such a magic machine were possible, can you imagine the size of the thing? It'd never be finished being built!

    According to a quick bit of Google-Fu, Facebook alone has 300 petabytes of data and adds another 4 petabytes per day, contains 250 billion photographs which grows at a rate of 350 million per day, has nearly 1.5 billion daily active users/2 billion monthly users and growing fast, etc. - which apparently all need scanning and judging automagically to somehow always agree with the government?

    Oh look, a flying pig... Haha.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Oh look, a flying pig...

      Careful! You don't want to encourage Cameron to come back into the public eye.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Magic machine.

      Even if such a magic machine were possible, can you imagine the size of the thing? It'd never be finished being built!

      Whether or not it could be built (and whether or not, as a government I.T. project it could be built, which has a much more complex set of probabilities, but generally can be summarised as "no, no, fail, fail, lob another couple of billion tax money on the bonfire then scrap it until after next election"), such practicalities are not of any interest to the current political crop.

      If they decide they wants it, it must be made to happen, and they'll keep on harping about it until they either get it or changes in technology/society/nefarious agenda result in a change in tack.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Magic machine.

        or changes in technology/society/nefarious agenda result in a change in tack.

        So, what do you reckon? A 15-20% chance they'll change their minds for any reason short of a nuclear Armageddon?

        It would be beautifully ironic if the nuclear Armageddon was initiated by an AI becoming self-aware. At least we'd have that to console ourselves with, as we fight the machines back and forth across the radioactive wasteland between Slough and Windsor.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "which apparently all need scanning and judging automagically to somehow always agree with the government?"

      Facebook can always take the same solution as Google did with the media laws in Spain and Germany.

      I'd give the government about 2 weeks at most in the face of a Facebook blockade, largely because most of the other big guys would join the boycott.

      Citizens deprived of their ability to gossip online start becoming uppity.

  17. Chinashaw
    Terminator

    Not more tired politician and Brexit comments

    Outside of all the same old same old jokes about politicians and Brexit. The government does have a point. There is a problem (or possibly just according to the masses) on social media with abuse and the such like. As the government, they are expected to try to do something about it. Much like the 'gig economy' it was all left to the companies to police/prove benefits/help society/make profit but over time it all just got a little too freewheeling. So now regulation is demanded by society and our elected stale loaves/sour milk lot need to respond.

    What the 4/14 turning up does show, is a general arrogance and assumption that tech companies and in particular the larger ones are above the law, an assumption based on the fact that government and society has bowed down to our new overlords.

    So it doesn't matter if the sour milk lot bumble around AI and make nonsense statements, it has come to a point where they need to do something and clearly the social media companies concerned will only respond to financial threats rather than a polite invite to chat over tea. So bring out the financial and legal threats.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whoever Wins, We Lose.

      There are some situations where one should hold both sides equally in comtempt, and that's pretty much the case here.

      The social media companies with their pathological, self-serving disregard for privacy and users' interests have only themselves to blame for the results of arrogantly thinking they could get away with riding roughshod over everything and not have to justify themselves.

      On the other side, there's the current authoritarian, right-wing government's knee-jerk being-seen-to-be-doing-something response dictating what should be done from a position of complete technical ignorance about how things work or what is possible. But what would you expect from the party that- quite contemptibly- announced "people in this country have had enough of experts" when it conflicted with their own dogma and self interest and bred Amber "Necessary Hashtags" Rudd?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    James said social networks should use AI to do the job

    Brilliant proof that politicians DO pay attention to what is going on around them and ALWAYS come up with a measured, simple and yet PERFECT solution to ANY problem.

    I say, bring the AI to end all wars!

    p.s. and BREXIT!!!!

    :/

  19. DJ Smiley

    "Data Protection Act’s penalties of up to four per cent of global turnover for non-compliance, with lesser penalties applied first."

    Actually I think that's GDPR, and DPA only has fines upto £500,000 which for someone like facebook, is just a drop in the ocean.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      To Facebook half a mill is not even a drop in the ocean. It'd be missed even less than the molecule of humour lost in a pint of Zuckerberk's piss.

  20. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    James said social networks should use AI to do the job,

    JPs test for "AI" for Google (other epic fails are available)

    Does:

    "show me all sandals with no mention of velcro"

    return what you wanted. Or does it see the word "velcro" in the search terms and return the *exact opposite* of what you asked for ?

    Rinse and repeat for anything subtle and nuanced

    Until that works, AI ain't gonna do squat to "police da interwebs". And people should stop pretending it will.

  21. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Trollface

    10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

    I'm amazed that four of them considered the UK government to be relevant now or when we leave from the E.U.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      One of the four was probably Matt Hancock (the social network app, not the minister).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I propose...

    We have our next politicians be AI's instead.

    Not belonging to any party as such, just randomly chosen parameter "AI".

    It's unlikely they'll function all that well. However, the current lot decidedly don't either, so at least this way we have a chance of improving things.

  23. tony2heads
    WTF?

    “And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place."

    What universe does she come from?

    Companies are set up to make MONEY.

  24. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Perhaps ...

    Someone should remove her hashtags. With a machete.

  25. Mike Ozanne

    4 out of 14? that many? I'm surprised.. As they know that they can configure themselves to serve UK clients and still get paid from their revenue sources without a technical or legal presence in UK jurisdiction. It's strange that 4 bothered...

  26. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
  27. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The government invited 14 'social networks' but that term in just a buzz word for a site that lets users upload and share their own content.

    Now if we consider that there are 1000s of forums and chat rooms that allow people to do the same as 'social networks' and upload and share content then the problem is no longer the fact that only 4 bother to show up, but that the government are only considering whatever laws they decide to bring in will only effect 14 platforms. Where as in reality it could kill off a lot of smaller sites run by communities for none profit because they can't employ moderators or have the expertise to set up AI.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next, the UK government will demand

    That the representatives of the dark web sites come before them to give evidence.

    Under penalty of....well...something pretty severe.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "ignored UK government consultations"

    And why not?

    The government ignores public consultations all the time.

  30. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "The government ignores public consultations all the time."

    The fact that the government has called for public consultations is an indication that they've already decided what they want to do and are looking to rubberstamp it, no matter what happens at the consultations.

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