At least one member of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen has reportedly suggested that regulations may be required for social media platforms if the current shift toward self-regulation doesn't go far enough. That's a sentiment backed by Andrew Parker, who currently heads the U.K.'s MI5 agency. According to Parker, the internet is not "some sort of Wild West" without moral requirements. The representatives are, of course, referring to recent problems noted with social media regarding user privacy. However, the statements seem to go beyond that, addressing problems with behavior across the board. More directly, comments seem aimed at the proliferation of fake news and government-backed accounts, among other things.
It goes without saying that these issues are all currently being addressed by the European Commission. The commission has been in talks with individuals in leadership roles associated with social media platforms on a wide swath of issues for several months. Beyond that, it has actively pursued new laws and regulations, as well as enforcing those where necessary in order to ensure that those companies play by the rules. However, the representatives argue that might not be enough if the current direction of those talks doesn't result in widespread changes. What's more, that's not really a matter of whether the companies behind the services recognize the problems. According to Parker, they are not only aware of those but are already trying to deal with them internally.
Facebook may be the most prominent example of repeated failed attempts to handle the rising number of issues associated with social media. As arguably the most popular social network in the world, its challenge is obviously compounded by the size of its user base. However, that also makes it more important for the company to get things right since so many people are affected by every new policy and change. For example, the company attempted to stem off the flow of misleading or false news stories back in 2017. However, that effort ultimately fell apart due to ineffectiveness before ultimately making a comeback in an admittedly different format earlier this year. That hasn't necessarily stopped the influx of misleading stories and may be one area where regulation is seen as a necessity. By regulating whether or not provably false or misleading content can be posted, Facebook would be required to pour in substantially more resources than it might otherwise put into fighting the problem. Whether or not that would be effective, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.