Facebook's Zuckerberg calls for more regulation of Internet

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling for more regulation of the social media company and the Internet in an effort to protect society from “broader harms.”

In an opinion piece published Saturday in The Washington Post, Zuckerberg said there are four areas where more oversight is necessary: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

“Technology is a major part of our lives, and companies such as Facebook have immense responsibilities,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks. These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t ask companies to make these judgments alone.

Because of Facebook’s ability to control content – particularly speech – Zuckerberg said the company is creating an independent body so users can appeal decisions the social media giant makes regarding content removal. He also said Facebook is working with governments to make sure its content review systems are effective.

Since people use many different forms of sharing services, each with their own policies for policing harmful content, Zuckerberg said there needs to be a “more standardized approach.” He suggested having more regulation to set the baselines for content that is forbidden and require companies to create systems that are used to keep harmful content to a “bare minimum.”

“Facebook already publishes transparency reports on how effectively we’re removing harmful content,” the chief executive wrote. “I believe every major Internet service should do this quarterly, because it’s just as important as financial reporting. Once we understand the prevalence of harmful content, we can see which companies are improving and where we should set the baselines.”

The op-ed was published just weeks after a gunman shot and killed 50 people at two New Zealand mosques and livestreamed the rampage on Facebook. The social media giant last Wednesday banned white nationalism hate speech.

In an effort to protect elections, Zuckerberg said that Facebook has already made “significant changes” regarding political advertisements. Under the new guidelines, advertisers in many countries need to verify their identities before they can buy a political ad.

Additionally, the Facebook CEO wrote that he believes it would be better for the Internet if more countries started using regulation like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a “common framework.”

“New privacy regulation in the United States and around the world should build on the protections GDPR provides,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It should protect your right to choose how your information is used — while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services. It shouldn’t require data to be stored locally, which would make it more vulnerable to unwarranted access. And it should establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes.”