Social media poses a “safety and security” risk from countries like China and Russia, Tristan Harris, a former Google executive who appears in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast Thursday.
“There’s kind of a World War III of global information warfare that’s happening right now,” Harris, the founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology, told host Jessica Rosenthal.
The former big tech executive said that while the government protects the physical borders, social media has become the new reality of the country and “instead of having a passport control system, anyone can walk into our country digitally at any time.”
“If … Russia, China try to fly a physical plane in the United States, we’d be shooting them down by the Department of Defense, but if they try to fly an information plane into the United States, they’re met by a Facebook or Google algorithm that says, which zipcode do you want to target?”
Harris explained that several countries have actually manipulated Facebook groups, including veterans groups, and tried to manipulate public discourse there.
“Russia specifically has actually gone into, you wouldn’t believe this, but anti-fracking and pro-environmentalist groups and actually tried to amplify environmentalists in the United States because if their voices are heard and saying we shouldn’t frack in this country, it means that we have to buy more foreign Russian oil,” he said.
When asked about reexamining Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — which shields social media companies from liability regarding third-party content on their platforms, Harris said he believes social media companies should report to the people instead of a board of directors.
He points to Facebook and Twitter specifically dividing the nation while apps like TikTok and Instagram and harming children while harvesting their data and attention.
“In exchange for Section 230 protections, being forced to transparently report on how much addiction, how much underage use, how much sex trafficking, child pornography, all of these kinds of things that we don’t want or want to reduce, we should be able to say, hey, we want you to measure those things in these ways, and then you have quarterly needs to reduce those harms down every quarter,” he said. “And if you don’t do that, we have ways of holding you accountable.”
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