Barry I completely agree with you that in any regulation exercise — avoiding it should be top priority. We should certainly learn any lessons on how not to do it from the FCA!
Indeed, if we can achieve our aims using monitoring, influence, prompting, political rhetoric then much much better for everyone.
But if, as Zeynep Tufekci points out, the business model itself has flaws and/or we are dealing with natural monopolies which occur easily in tech because of the high network benefit of a common standard and platform, (VHS recorders, DVD, Windows, Word, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Search, Android, Alexa etc. etc.) then there may need to be some mechanism to regulate their ill effects on society.
Much of the regulation I’m imagining is actually already happening, it’s just happening behind closed doors — Facebook already makes an enormous number of censorship decisions on a daily basis that could be made more transparent and therefore fairer.
Whether the solution is a fully fledged regulated market, with an OFSOC as envisaged, or a cut-down approach where you have a public monitoring body without teeth, is the matter for debate: i.e. what aspects truly need regulating and what can be left alone.