This article by an ex Facebook employee is definitely worth a read.
The headline says it all. Who knew?
Hitherto every discussion about what to do to promote children’s rights online or make the internet better and safer for children started from the basis that multi stakeholder voluntarism and industry self-regulation were the obvious and preferred way to go. This certainly made things easier for governments but that experiment has run its course and been found wanting too many times in too many ways.
Trust of high tech is at an all time low. It cannot be rebuilt against a background of near total ignorance of what is truly going on, particularly inside the bigger companies that dominate so much of the internet.
We have no context or means of judging what actual priority is being given to addressing children’s interests as internet users. This has to change and it will not be acceptable if we simply allow companies to tell us, unilaterally, how they propose to be more transparent in the future. There must be some external, independent validation.
However, I don’t think we should rule out any role for self-regulation in respect of any and every issue to do with children and the internet but the case for it needs to be demonstrated case by case against a background of a much higher and wider level of certainty and transparency about what companies are doing. In November, 2017 we are a very long way from that.