Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls for more regulation of tech companies like his as a way to arbitrate the ongoing debate on whether it is the responsibility of social media platforms to police the network against harmful internet content and fake reports.
Recent policies of the tech giant, including its decision to allow politicians to posts fake news without fact-checking them, have earned the ire of many users around the world, including celebrities and political figures. Back in 2018, Facebook launched a political advertising archive database where anyone can search for political ads paid for by politicians for seven years. However, last week, the social media company said that the database does not include posts and advertisements run by social media stars. This new policy has once again put Facebook in scalding water.
In order to remedy this problem, Zuckerberg said during his speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that he is supportive of more regulation of harmful online content, contending that it should not be up for private companies to determine what counts as free speech. However, the founder also warned for the dire consequences of excessive control, citing some Chinese policies. He said that too much regulation would stifle individual expression.
“We don’t want private companies making so many decisions about how to balance social equities without any more democratic process,” he said.
Zuckerberg urges governments to layout a new regulatory system for social media, suggesting it should be a mix of existing rules for telecoms and media companies.
“In the absence of that kind of regulation, we will continue doing our best,” he said. “But I actually think on a lot of these questions that are trying to balance different social equities it is not just about coming up with the right answer; it is about coming up with an answer that society thinks is legitimate.”
Facebook’s shares closed Friday with a 0.49% increase to $214.18.