Zuckerberg advocates for new Internet rules

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the rules that govern the Internet need to be updated in order to "preserve what's best about it".

Zuckerberg made the comments in a blog post, calling on governments and regulators to play a more active role to initiate new Internet rules in order to keep the Web community safe.

The Facebook CEO is of the view there needs to be new regulation in four areas, namely harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

In regards to harmful content, which constitutes terrorist propaganda, hate speech and more, Zuckerberg suggests third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and measure companies against those standards. "Regulation could set baselines for what's prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum."

Zuckerberg goes on to highlight the importance of legislation in protecting elections.

According to him, online political advertising laws primarily focus on candidates and elections, rather than divisive political issues where there's been more visible attempt at interference.

"Some laws only apply during elections, although information campaigns are nonstop. And there are also important questions about how political campaigns use data and targeting. We believe legislation should be updated to reflect the reality of the threats and set standards for the whole industry."

Thirdly, Zuckerberg believes effective privacy and data protection needs a globally harmonised framework.

He explains that a common global framework, rather than regulation that varies significantly by country and state, will ensure the Internet does not get fractured, entrepreneurs can build products that serve everyone, and everyone gets the same protections.

"People around the world have called for comprehensive privacy regulation in line with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and I agree," notes Zuckerberg. "I believe it would be good for the Internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework."

Zuckerberg's final recommendation is that regulation should guarantee the principle of data portability. "If you share data with one service, you should be able to move it to another. This gives people choice and enables developers to innovate and compete."

The CEO notes people should not have to rely on individual companies addressing these issues by themselves; rather there needs to be a broader debate about what society wants and how regulation can help.

He concludes: "The rules governing the Internet allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed the world and created a lot of value in people's lives. It's time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward."

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13 Aug
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