Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Saturday that he thinks the government should take a firmer hand in regulating the internet and protecting the privacy of users. Zuckerberg's own company has itself faced serious problems with privacy of data, and he's appeared before Congress to discuss many aspects of his business and the internet in general as it pertains to security, privacy, and even political bias and manipulation.
Facebook was also, of course, a centerpiece of the Russia investigation, and was manipulated by fake news sites and content creators of Russian origin.
In a letter he released, and published as an op-ed for the Washington Post, Zuckerberg called for heavy government regulations of his industry and the practices in which his company engages.
"Internet companies should be accountable for enforcing standards on harmful content," said 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."
By standardized, he is referring to regulation arrived at through legislation, designed to be implemented across the board by the hand of the federal government. "Regulation could set baselines for what's prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum," he writes.
TechCrunch offered this summary of the key points:
- Harmful content – He wants overarching rules and benchmarks social apps can be measured by
- Election integrity – He wants clear government definitions of what constitutes a political or issue ad
- Privacy – He wants GDPR-style regulations globally that can impose sanctions on violators
- Data portability – He wants users to be able to bring their info from one app to another
In the op-ed, Zuckerberg states that "lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree." As TechCrunch notes, this affirmation comes just days after their highly publicized and praised move to ban all white supremacist and "white separatist" content.
"I've come to believe that we shouldn't make so many important decisions about speech on our own," he says. "So we're creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions."
But that process should be in cooperation with, if not at the behest of, a governing body, he argues, a "common global framework" as he puts it.
"This is important for the internet — and for creating services people want," the Facebook founder said. "But this requires clear rules about who's responsible for protecting information when it moves between services."