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It’s your role to regulate internet content, Mark Zuckerberg tasks governments

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says regulators and governments should play a more active role in controlling internet content. (FILE PHOTO)

WASHINGTON DC – In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Facebook’s chief says the responsibility for monitoring harmful content is too great for firms alone.

He calls for new laws in four areas: “Harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.”

It comes two weeks after a gunman used the site to livestream his attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree,” Mr Zuckerberg writes, adding that Facebook was “creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions” about what is posted and what is taken down.

He also describes a new set of rules he would like to see enforced on tech companies.

These new regulations should be the same for all websites, he says, so that it’s easier to stop “harmful content” from spreading quickly across platforms.

What does Mark Zuckerberg want?

In brief, Mr Zuckerberg calls for the following things:

  • Common rules that all social media sites need to adhere to, enforced by third-party bodies, to control the spread of harmful content
  • All major tech companies to release a transparency report every three months, to put it on a par with financial reporting
  • Stronger laws around the world to protect the integrity of elections, with common standards for all websites to identify political actors
  • Laws that not only apply to candidates and elections, but also other “divisive political issues”, and for laws to apply outside of official campaign periods
  • New industry-wide standards to control how political campaigns use data to target voters online
  • More countries to adopt privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force last year
  • A “common global framework” that means these laws are all standardised globally, rather than being substantially different from country to country
  • Clear rules about who’s responsible for protecting people’s data when they move it from one service to another

“I believe Facebook has a responsibility to help address these issues, and I’m looking forward to discussing them with lawmakers around the world,” Mr Zuckerberg says.

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