On Saturday, Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to The Washington Post in addition to the Facebook newsroom to voice his opinions regarding the need for some form of regulation on the internet, calling out governments and authorities to take up a more active role in the matter. He proposed four main areas which, in his opinion, need to be kept in check the most: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.
Speaking of ways to control and monitor harmful content, Zuckerberg stated that all companies on the internet - including Facebook - should be monitored and kept in line by third-party regulatory bodies. According to Zuckerberg's idea, these bodies should be in charge of setting the standards, rules, regulations, and policies governing the distribution of harmful content and hold rule-breakers accountable for breaching these standards. He also suggested that every major corporation on the internet should publish transparency reports quarterly to measure them against the base standards set by the regulatory bodies.
Next Zuckerberg highlighted legislation as a crucial component for protecting elections, demanding that countries across the world update their laws to reflect how political campaigns use data and targeting, and how political ads can potentially be misused to influence elections. He demanded that it should be made necessary for advertisers to verify their identities before purchasing political ads. This might come off as a tad bit hypocritical to some, considering the fact that Facebook was heavily involved with Cambridge Analytica, the firm accused of influencing the turnout of the U.S. election back in 2016.
The third topic that Zuckerberg touched on was effective privacy and data protection, stating that the world should follow a common framework, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. He commented that establishing the same privacy laws in every country across the globe will be very beneficial for the people, stating that it will "ensure that the Internet does not get fractured, entrepreneurs can build products that serve everyone, and everyone gets the same protections."
Lastly, the Facebook head demanded that Internet regulations should recognize and allow the concept of data portability, meaning consumers should be able to move their data from one service to another, given that clear-cut rules exist to protect their information when it transfers between services. Zuckerberg also said that a standard data transfer format should be implemented in order to maintain uniform standards for data protection. He explained the need for data portability as follows:
"This gives people choice and enables developers to innovate and compete. This is important for the Internet — and for creating services people want. It’s why we built our development platform. True data portability should look more like the way people use our platform to sign into an app than the existing ways you can download an archive of your information."
This seems to be a solid effort on Facebook's part, perhaps the social media goliath is attempting to redeem itself in light of the recent New Zealand terrorist attack. The terrorist live-streamed the mass shootings at two mosques via the platform's Live video sharing feature, causing 1.5 million copies of the clip to be generated by the time moderators were able to take it down. Although Facebook has taken many steps to make amends, it has faced massive criticism ever since.