NEW YORK | UK lawmakers recommend stiffer social media regulation

NEW YORK (AP) — A parliamentary committee report has recommended that the United Kingdom government increase oversight of social media platforms like Facebook to better control harmful or illegal content.

A report published Sunday concludes an 18-month investigation and says that social media sites should have to follow a mandatory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator. The report called out Facebook in particular, saying that the site’s structure seems to be designed to “conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific decisions.”

“It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws,” the report states. It also accuses CEO Mark Zuckerberg of contempt for not appearing before the committee last year.

Facebook did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The report by the Parliament’s media committee echoes and expands upon an interim report with similar findings issued by the committee in July . And in December , a trove of documents released by the committee offered evidence that the social network had used its enormous trove of user data as a competitive weapon, often in ways designed to keep its users in the dark.

Facebook and other internet companies have been facing increased scrutiny over how they handle user data and have come under fire for not doing enough to stop misuse of their platforms by groups trying to sway elections. Facebook faced its biggest privacy scandal last year when Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct British political data-mining firm that worked for the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, accessed the private information of up to 87 million users.

By Associated Press