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GLASNOST! Nine ways Facebook can make itself a better forum for free speech and democracy

A platform with more than 2.2 billion users, Facebook has found itself at the epicentre of many of the ongoing conversations about digital media, technology policy, and democracy. Following multiple controversies in the past two years, Facebook is seeking to implement much needed processes for self-regulation and governance to help regain the trust of the public, politicians, and regulatory authorities. Facebook has thus entered a new era of cautious glasnost, inviting researchers to look 'under the hood' of various aspects of its operations, and understand how it formulates and implements its policies. This short report aims to build on these developments by identifying some specific issues concerning political information and speech on Facebook, providing an overview of the major changes that Facebook has made in recent years in response to public criticism, and critically assessing these changes, offering suggestions as to what more the company should do.

Authors: Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Robert Gorwa, DPhil candidate in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford; Danaë Metaxa, PhD candidate in Computer Science and McCoy Center for Ethics in Society fellow at Stanford University.