Facebook CEO calls for regulating harmful online content

LONDON: Calling for the regulation of harmful online content, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pitched for a legal framework that encourages “democratic and open values” to control social media platforms.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, he said that social media companies need more guidance and regulation from governments.

“I do think that there should be regulation on harmful content … there’s a question about which framework you use for this,” Zuckerberg told the gathering.

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“Even if I’m not going to agree with every regulation in the near term, I do think it’s going to be the thing that helps create trust and better governance of the internet and will benefit everyone, including us over the long term,” Zuckerberg added.

“In the absence of that kind of regulation, we will continue doing our best, we are going to build up the muscle to do it, to basically find stuff as proactively as possible”.

Facebook and its family of apps, including WhatsApp are facing intense scrutiny from governments and regulators over the spread of false and misleading information.

Zuckerberg suggested a mix of existing rules for telecoms and media industries to regulate social media, reports Al Jazeera.

“Right now, there are two frameworks that I think people have for existing industries — there’s like newspapers and existing media, and then there’s the telco-type model, which is ‘the data just flows through you’, but you’re not going to hold a telco responsible if someone says something harmful on a phone line,” the Facebook CEO argued.

“I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between”.

Several US lawmakers and former Facebook employees have called for breaking-up the social networking giant with nearly 2.5 billion users to control it better.

Zuckerberg said Facebook has employed 35,000 people to review online content and implement security measures.

“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.

In a New Year message, Zuckerberg called for new ways for communities to govern themselves and legitimate regulation around elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability in the new decade.

One of the big questions for the next decade is: how should we govern the large new digital communities that the internet has enabled?

“One way to address this is through regulation. As long as our governments are seen as legitimate, rules established through a democratic process could add more legitimacy and trust than rules defined by companies alone,” said Zuckerberg.

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