Zuckerberg calls for more regulation over the Internet
Written on the 1 April 2019 by David Simmons
Facebook has clearly grown bigger than founder Mark Zuckerberg ever imagined.
In just a few short years he's gone from Silicon Valley darling to the scapegoat for the world's ills.
He copped the brunt of the blame for Brexit and Trump, and more recently has received a fair share of criticism for Facebook's handling of the Christchurch massacre livestream.
With Facebook now supporting more than two billion users worldwide it has become a lot harder for Zuckerberg and his sprawling team to properly self-regulate harmful content whilst simultaneously protecting data, ensuring the site is constantly online and innovating.
In a post on Facebook the founder outlines his case for more stringent regulation of the Internet by governments globally to help control the untameable beast that is social media.
He says there needs to be global regulation in four distinct areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
The first is perhaps the most current of the four areas, especially in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
Following the livestream of the mass murdering spree of Muslims in Christchurch mosques, Facebook was taken to task for its delay in taking down the livestream, as well as re-uploaded versions of the video. Additionally, it was criticised for the role it played in allowing white supremacist views to spread on the website.
Zuckerberg says that despite their best efforts they will not always get it right when it comes to monitoring hate speech.
"Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree. I've come to believe that we shouldn't make so many important decisions about speech on our own. So we're creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions," says Zuckerberg.
"Internet companies should be accountable for enforcing standards on harmful content. It's impossible to remove all harmful content from the Internet, but when people use dozens of different sharing services - all with their own policies and processes - we need a more standardized approach."
"One idea is for third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and measure companies against those standards. Regulation could set baselines for what's prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum."
Second, Zuckerberg says that government need to outline more clearly what they expect from Facebook when it comes to protecting election integrity. This is particularly important when considering the alleged interference of foreign powers using Facebook ads to sway the results of the UK's Brexit vote and the 2016 US Presidential election.
"Online political advertising laws primarily focus on candidates and elections, rather than divisive political issues where we've seen more attempted interference," says Zuckerberg.
"Some laws only apply during elections, although information campaigns are nonstop. And there are also important questions about how political campaigns use data and targeting. We believe legislation should be updated to reflect the reality of the threats and set standards for the whole industry."
Third, Zuckerberg has backed calls for comprehensive privacy regulation in line with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.
"I believe it would be good for the Internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework," says Zuckerberg.
"New privacy regulation in the United States and around the world should build on the protections GDPR provides. It should protect your right to choose how your information is used - while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services. It shouldn't require data to be stored locally, which would make it more vulnerable to unwarranted access. And it should establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes."
"I also believe a common global framework - rather than regulation that varies significantly by country and state - will ensure that the Internet does not get fractured, entrepreneurs can build products that serve everyone, and everyone gets the same protections."
Finally, Zuckerberg raises the issue of data portability, and the need for the control and ownership of data to be placed back into the hands of its owner.
"If you share data with one service, you should be able to move it to another. This gives people choice and enables developers to innovate and compete," says Zuckerberg.
"This also needs common standards, which is why we support a standard data transfer format and the open source Data Transfer Project."
Zuckerberg's call for global regulation comes just a few weeks after he spoke publicly about the future of Facebook.
You can read the entirety of Zuckerberg's statement here.
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons