Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called Saturday for more outside regulation in several areas in which the social media site has run into problems over the past few years: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Zuckerberg said governments and regulators, rather than private companies like Facebook, should be more active in policing the Internet.
“Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks,” he wrote. “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.”
More regulation over what constitutes harmful content could “set a baseline” for what is prohibited and require companies to “build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum,” he wrote.
He said privacy rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect in Europe last year, should be adopted elsewhere in the world.
The piece comes days after Facebook was criticized when a shooting rampage in New Zealand that killed 50 people was broadcast live on the site. It said Thursday that it was extending a ban on hate speech to white nationalists.
Zuckerberg and others are “beginning to realize the wild, wild West of the internet of the past, those days are gone,” said Tim Bajarin, president of consultancy Creative Strategies. “And the internet and especially social media sites now need to be looked at closer by government entities.”
Facebook has weathered more than two years of turbulence for repeated privacy lapses, spreading disinformation, allowing Russian agents to conduct targeted propaganda campaigns and a rising tide of hate speech and abuse. Zuckerberg submitted to two days of grilling on Capitol Hill last April.
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said he was shifting the company’s focus to messaging services designed to serve as fortresses of privacy.