Zuckerberg calls for more internet regulation

The Facebook CEO argues that tech companies are under pressure to make tough decisions alone and that governments should step in with regulations to protect society from "broader harms"

1Apr

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called for the world's governments to take a "more active role" in regulating the internet and creating rules that tech giant's such as his can follow to protect society from "broader harms".

Tech companies are currently tasked with making decisions about what speech is harmful and what constitutes political advertising, as well as preventing sophisticated cyberattacks. But, as Zuckerberg points out in an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post, "if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn't ask companies to make these judgments alone".

"From what I've learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: Harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," he stated.

As Zuckerberg pointed out, while Facebook continually reviews its policies with experts, the sheer quantities of content that come through its platform mean that mistakes will always be made, and people will disagree with its decisions. For example, the company faced criticism when it banned white supremacy from its platform last year while letting white nationalist content through – a situation it attempted to rectify last week. He called for companies to publish transparency reports, as Facebook already does, and suggested it works to set "the baselines" to deal with harmful content.

Zuckerberg also called for legislation to be updated to reflect the state of political advertising, suggesting that more countries should adopt regulations similar to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and organizations should set clear rules that guarantee data portability. He added that he believed Facebook had a responsibility to help address such issues.

However, given Facebook's chequered history in all the areas Zuckerberg has outlined, his suggestions have been met with fierce criticism, with people pointing out that the Facebook chief has refused several invitations to take accountability for his company's actions.

Others have claimed that he is simply playing lip service as a PR move or suggesting regulations that will ultimately squash competitors.

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