Zucker­berg wants more reg­u­la­tion of In­ter­net

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY MAE AN­DER­SON As­so­ci­ated Press

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg called Satur­day for more out­side reg­u­la­tion in sev­eral ar­eas in which the so­cial me­dia site has run into prob­lems over the past few years: harm­ful con­tent, election in­tegrity, pri­vacy and data porta­bil­ity.

In an opin­ion piece in The Wash­ing­ton Post, Zucker­berg said gov­ern­ments and reg­u­la­tors rather than pri­vate com­pa­nies like Face­book should be more ac­tive in polic­ing the In­ter­net.

“Ev­ery day, we make de­ci­sions about what speech is harm­ful, what con­sti­tutes po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­tis­ing, and how to pre­vent so­phis­ti­cated cy­ber­at­tacks,” he wrote. “These are im­por­tant for keep­ing our com­mu­nity safe. But if we were start­ing from scratch, we wouldn’t ask com­pa­nies to make these judg­ments alone.”

More reg­u­la­tion over what con­sti­tutes harm­ful con­tent could “set a base­line” for what is pro­hib­ited and re­quire com­pa­nies to “build sys­tems for keep­ing harm­ful con­tent to a bare min­i­mum,” he wrote.

He said pri­vacy rules such as the Gen­eral Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion, which took ef­fect in Europe last year, should be adopted elsewhere in the world.

The piece comes days af­ter Face­book was crit­i­cized when a shoot­ing ram­page in New Zealand that killed 50 peo­ple was broad­cast live on the site. It said Thurs­day it was ex­tend­ing a ban on hate speech to white na­tion­al­ists.

Zucker­berg and oth­ers are “be­gin­ning to re­al­ize the wild, wild West of the In­ter­net of the past, those days are gone,” said Tim Ba­jarin, pres­i­dent of con­sul­tancy Cre­ative Strate­gies. “And the In­ter­net and es­pe­cially so­cial me­dia sites now need to be looked at closer by govern­ment en­ti­ties.”

Face­book has weath­ered more than two years of tur­bu­lence for re­peated pri­vacy lapses, spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion, al­low­ing Rus­sian agents to con­duct tar­geted pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns and a rising tide of hate speech and abuse. Zucker­berg sub­mit­ted to two days of grilling on Capi­tol Hill last April.

Ear­lier this month, Zucker­berg said he was shift­ing the com­pany’s fo­cus to mes­sag­ing ser­vices de­signed to serve as fortresses of pri­vacy.

AN­DREW HARNIK AP

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg, shown at a 2018 House En­ergy and Com­merce hear­ing in Wash­ing­ton, is call­ing for more govern­ment in­volve­ment in polic­ing the in­ter­net.

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