Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is looking to get ahead of the legislative landslide coming at the social network by outlining his views on how government should regulate the internet.
As The Drum columnist Sam Scott writes, 2019, will be the year of reckoning for Facebook with it facing financial, growth, regulatory and moral issues – particularly with it recently streaming a mass murder in New Zealand and taking a stance against extremist white nationalist content.
Zuckerberg said that the government and regulators will have to play “a more active role” in shaping the internet, making decisions on harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability, reports The Guardian.
He ran an editorial in The Washington Post outlining how the company will plays its part in modernising internet legislation - particularly if its highly profitable form of digital advertising and user tracking is to endure.
Zuckerberg said: “Every day we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks.
“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.
“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.”
He described a need to put in place rules to “protect elections” despite his network being one of those that enabled bad players, untracked foreign money and unverified claims.
He called for third-party bodies to set the rules for social networks; quarterly transparency reports from the largest tech companies; stronger laws protecting elections and divisive political points; new voter-targeting law and more.
It read like Facebook’s own political pledge, perhaps guided by former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg who joined the company as head of global affairs and communications in October.
Of course, it comes as the company admits to deleting some of Zuckerberg’s old Facebook posts – hinting that there are still some barriers to this new era of transparency form the social network.