Zuckerberg Urges Closer Regulation Of Social Media

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg expanded on his previous calls for more regulation of social media over the weekend, saying such new rules should be based on the existing regimes for the telecoms and media industries.

Zuckerberg told the Munich Security Conference in Germany he did not want private companies like Facebook determining what information should or shouldn’t be published online.

He also warned of the dangers of excessive control, citing the example of China.

Zuckerberg’s comments come as online companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google come under increasing pressure to curtail the spread of false information online.

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017. Image credit: Facebook

Political ads

While Twitter recently said it would bar all political advertising, Facebook has declined to follow suit.

It has drawn criticism for its own political advertising policy, first introduced in 2018 in the US and worldwide the following year.

The company’s rules require political ads to display who paid for them and for a copy of the ad to be kept in a publicly searchable database for seven years.

But last week Facebook said sponsored political posts by social media influencers would not be kept in the database.

At the conference Zuckerberg said he did not want private companies “making so many decisions about how to balance social equities without any more democratic process”.

New rules

He cited differing regulatory environments for newspapers and the media and for telecommunications companies, saying social media rules could borrow from both models.

“I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between,” Zuckerberg told the conference.

He said Facebook now employs 35,000 people to review online content and apply security policies.

Working together with artificial intelligence, those people suspend more than 1 million fake accounts each day, with most being detected “within minutes of signing up”, Zuckerberg said.

“Our budget is bigger today than the whole revenue of the company when we went public in 2012, when we had a billion users,” he said.

“I’m proud of the results but we will definitely have to stay vigilant.”

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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