A heated exchange ensued at the Select Committee for Deliberate Online Falsehoods between K Shanmugam and Simon Milner, a policy head at Facebook. This comes largely from the scandals Facebook has had to face over its lack of transparency in its use of users’ data, as well as its role as a platform for potentially seditious, malicious or false content. The questioning led Milner to raise a complaint with Select Committee Chair Charles Chong, who responded by immediately deferring to Shanmugam.
The exchange has raised some concerns over how this Select Committee has been conducted – while its mandate is to gather feedback on tackling online falsehoods, this exchange resembled much more a court interrogation of Facebook’s scandals. Nonetheless, the sight of Milner standing his ground against the notoriously intimidating Shanmugam is a riveting one. Milner makes a valid point as well – as a platform Facebook sees no role of itself as arbiters of the truth. Whether the government should have this role, however, is the million-dollar question this Select Committee has yet to ask.