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Transparency rule of social networks in debate of Fake News Bill of Law divides opinion between major social media platforms and civil society representatives.

After approval in the Brazilian Senate, the House of Representatives is currently discussing Bill of Law No. 2630 of 2020 (“Fake News Law”), in particular the implementation of transparency rules. Among the determinations provided in the rules, social networks should provide quarterly reports detailing users’ actions, deleted posts, robot activity and boosted advertising content.

The Rights on the Network Coalition, an entity representing various sectors of civil society, argues that the transparency rules of Bill of Law No. 2630/20 aim to regulate content management on the internet, preventing that large platforms, such as Facebook and Youtube, manipulate user data to promote advertising content and campaigns with political and commercial interests.

On the other hand, Facebook’s representatives say that the social network already carries out on its own the disclosure of reports that detail the activity of accounts disabled due to violation of terms of use, in addition to offering users a system that justifies the contents that are suggested by the platform. In the service provider’s view, the project’s transparency rule is disproportionate and threatens freedom on social networks, including offering vulnerability to its users’ personal data.

In accordance with the debate on moderating content on the network, civil society, represented by the collective Intervozes, spoke out in defense of the proposed transparency rule. However, it indicated that it should be used as a tool to inform users, in order to generate autonomy to understand how social networks influence society. In addition, they argue that content moderation and transparency reports are diferent matters, since the determination of quarterly reports does not mean giving platforms the choice of content that will or will not be allowed.

The House of Representatives will continue to discuss the proposals of Bill of Law No. 2630 of 2020 and 10 public hearings on the topic are scheduled.

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