Some lawmakers say Facebook needs to do more to protect privacy

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WASHINGTON- Facebook was back in the hot seat on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers concerned over what they call deceptive and manipulative practices online say the tech giant needs to do more to protect its users.

But Republicans and Democrats remain slip on how to police the digital world.

Meanwhile, Facebook adamantly defended itself. They say for years now they have taken proactive steps to remove disinformation and predatory ads spread on their platforms.

“We’re basically moving from a lawful society to an unlawful virtual internet society,” said Tristan Harris with the Center for Humane Technology.

With social media already deeply embedded in American life, lawmakers and technology experts want more regulations to protect people online.

“Millions of Americans have been effected by data breaches and privacy abuses,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan.

At a Wednesday hearing, Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell went after Facebook and says the government needs to step in.

“The cost of failure to protect sensitive information is being pushed on millions of people who are being breached,” said Dingell.

“We have a pentagon to protect our physical borders. We don’t have a pentagon to protect our digital borders,” said Harris.

Harris left Google to create the Center for Human Technology.

He says lawmakers should force Facebook to protect user data and remove false news.

“The natural function of these platforms is to reward conspiracy theories outrage,” Harris said. “It’s the reason why all of you at home have crazier and crazier constituents who believe crazier and crazier thing,” Harris said.

At the hearing, Facebook rejected assertions that it wasn’t doing enough to stop abuse.

“We know we have an important role to play at Facebook in addressing manipulation and deception,” said Monika Bickert of Facebook.

Bickert oversees content for the company.

“Whether it’s terror propaganda hate speech threats of violence child exploitation content,” said Bickert, “we go after it proactively to try and find it and remove it.”

But Senator Josh Hawley says he isn’t sold.

“I will believe Facebook is serious about privacy and protecting consumers when they start taking action to do it,” said Hawley, a Republican from Missouri.

This is far from the first time Facebook has come to DC to defend itself and many Republicans and Democrats remain split on what do now.

Some house Republicans on the committee say the government should focus on enforcing regulations already on the books fearing new regulations could suppress free speech.

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