Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Outlines Ideas for New Web Regulations in Op-Ed

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has asked for more regulation in a new op-ed.

In a new Washington Post op-ed, the Facebook CEO is calling on “governments and regulators” around the world to help oversee the internet, and that includes his own company.

“By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms,” Zuckerberg writes.

Zuckerberg goes on to ask for new regulation addressing four topics: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.

Regarding harmful content, Zuckerberg writes that the company is creating an independent body that allows users to appeal decisions on content removal and that Facebook is also working with government agencies on ensuring its content review is effective.

“Internet companies should be accountable for enforcing standards on harmful content,” writes Zuckerberg. “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.”

External regulation, however, could help establish baselines for what content is harmful rather than leaving various social media platforms and services to set their own different standards, Zuckerberg writes.

“Facebook already publishes transparency reports on how effectively we’re removing harmful content. I believe every major Internet service should do this quarterly, because it’s just as important as financial reporting,” he writes. “Once we understand the prevalence of harmful content, we can see which companies are improving and where we should set the baselines.”

Making judgments about political ads “isn’t always straightforward,” Zuckerberg said in regards to election integrity. “Our systems would be more effective if regulation created common standards for verifying political actors.” He also said legislation should be updated to deal with how campaigns use data and targeting.

Zuckerberg also called for global privacy regulation in line with the EU’s strict new privacy law, GDPR. He added that governments also need to create “clear rules” around new technologies like artificial intelligence and that a common regulatory framework will prevent the Internet from being “fractured” and ensure protections that apply across the board.

Zuckerberg also called for regulations that guarantee the principle of data portability, which enables people to freely shift their data between services.

“True data portability should look more like the way people use our platform to sign into an app than the existing ways you can download an archive of your information,” the editorial explains. “But this requires clear rules about who’s responsible for protecting information when it moves between services.”

While Zuckerberg’s views on internet regulation have seen support by the likes of top tech execs like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the New York Times briskly summarised the skeptical response from many Facebook-watchers: “Many at the Silicon Valley company now expect lawmakers and regulators to act to contain it — so the social network is trying to set its own terms for what any regulations should look like.”

Read Zuckerberg’s entire op-ed here.

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