30 Jul 2018, 10.49

Policy and content executives at Facebook will answer questions about the social media platform’s moderation of violent and harmful content at the next meeting of the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Committee Chair Hildegarde Naughton TD said it was essential for lawmakers to question Facebook following the July 17 broadcast of a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4. The Dispatches programme, “Inside Facebook,” used hidden-camera footage to show how content moderation practices are taught and applied within the company’s outsourced operations in Dublin.

Scheduled to appear Wednesday at noon in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House are:

  • Niamh Sweeney, head of public policy, Facebook Ireland; and
  • Siobhán Cummiskey, head of content policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Deputy Naughton said the Channel 4 documentary raises new questions about Facebook’s commitment and ability to police its dissemination of content worldwide. The programme examined the handling of several pieces of offensive material, including racist images and messages, a video of a young boy being beaten by an adult, and footage of one teenage girl assaulting another.

“The programme offered persuasive evidence that Facebook bends its own rules and tolerates abusive content, including in instances when the source in question has a large and lucrative following that drives revenue to Facebook,” Deputy Naughton said.

“It is unacceptable for any company in Ireland to circulate material fomenting hate, bigotry, cruelty or sadism, particularly when involving children,” she said. “The Committee looks forward to hearing Facebook’s response to the programme and its plans for credible, immediate reform of its policies and practices.”

The meeting can be viewed live here.

It also can be viewed live on Android and Apple devices using the Houses of the Oireachtas app.

Media enquiries

Shawn Pogatchnik,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 4203
+353 86 701 3295
shawn.pogatchnik@oireachtas.ie
Twitter: @OireachtasNews

Committee membership

Deputies

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil

Independent

Fine Gael

Green Party

Solidarity - People Before Profit

Sinn Féin

Senators

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Independent

Fine Gael