SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called for the government and regulators to play in a bigger role in policing the internet.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post published on Saturday, Zuckerberg discussed four areas of focus for potential oversight: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
He opened his piece by saying, “Technology is a major part of our lives, and companies such as Facebook have immense responsibilities. Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks. 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.”
“Cambridge Analytica, you had the hearings on Capitol Hill, you had all of the talk of the underhanded politics that Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg had, and all these other things that happened,” said Ian Sherr, Editor At Large at CNET.
“It was a very tough year for them and I think they’re coming out on the other side and saying, ‘Okay, we need to find some way to work with everybody, because everyone hates us right now.'”
Sherr says Silicon Valley has traditionally opposed regulation from DC lawmakers.
In the piece, Zuckerberg wrote:
“The rules governing the Internet allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed the world and created a lot of value in people’s lives. It’s time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward.”
Zuckerberg also said that the company is creating an independent body so that users can appeal decisions the social media company makes when it comes to content.
“I think he wants to get in front of it all and try and really shape the conversation so that Facebook is the least impacted, but also feel that they have a framework they can work from,” added Sherr.
The piece comes less than two weeks after the New Zealand massacre that killed 50 people was broadcast live on the site.
“With the whole hate forums that are all over Facebook, those need to be regulated, because we’ve already seen what happened over in New Zealand, and that was kind of a big shock to us in this community here, because there’s a huge Muslim population here,” said East Bay resident Nyamat Rahimi.
“I mean, regulation in terms of if there’s trolling and bullying, but still I feel like we regulate ourselves as a people pretty well, and I don’t think we need some outside authority to tell us what we should be posting on social media,” said San Francisco resident Stephanie Lentini.
Some industry analysts suspect that Zuckerberg’s request for regulations could be a means to ultimately make it easier for the company to ward off potential competition down the line.