Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called on Saturday for new global regulations governing the internet, recommending overarching rules on hateful and violent content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
"I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. 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 said.
Currently, Facebook is deciding what counts as terrorist propaganda, hate speech and more. But Zuckerberg says that despite the company's efforts to review cintent, mistakes cannot be avoided.
"We need a more standardized approach," sasayd, adding that regulation "could set baselines for what’s prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum."
Legislation is important for protecting elections. Facebook has already made changes around political ads: Advertisers in many countries must verify their identities before purchasing political ads. Facebook has built a searchable archive that shows who pays for ads, what other ads they ran and what audiences saw the ads. However, deciding whether an ad is political isn’t always straightforward. "Our systems would be more effective if regulation created common standards for verifying political actors," Zuckerberg says. "We believe legislation should be updated to reflect the reality of the threats and set standards for the whole industry, "he says.
He also called for "a globally harmonized framework for effective privacy and data protection," in line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
"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," he says.
Regarding data portability, Zuckerberg says that "if you share data with one service, you should be able to move it to another." He called for new,
"clear rules about who’s responsible for protecting information when it moves between services."
Facebook has been the target of probes by various governments after news broke about a year ago that it allowed the personal data of tens of millions of users to be shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Earlier this month, it came under fire for taking too long to take down a live video of a shooting in New Zealand and allowing it to be circulated across the internet. Millions of users also had personal information accessed via a recent breach.
Last week, the company moved to ban content that references white nationalism or white separatism from the platform.
Facebook has an incentive to play a strong role in the debate around technology companies’ data regulation. The company’s revenue growth and billions of dollars in profits are fueled by collecting numerous data points around its customers and making that easily available to advertisers.
Progressive groups have been urging the Federal Trade Commission to carve up Facebook and split off its popular services Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger into their own companies. In January, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is planning to integrate the chat tools of those products, making a breakup harder to accomplish if the services are more tightly intertwined. The move has also increased concerns about transparency into how Facebook’s data collection works.
Zuckerberg's comments followed a Washington Post report saying the U.S. government and Facebook were negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine settlement over the company’s privacy lapses.