Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg requests government rules on ‘what discourse should be allowed’

Feb 17, 2020 by

by Joel Gehrke –

MUNICH — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called on Western governments to provide regulatory guidance for how social media companies can identify the boundaries of “what discourse should be allowed” on their platforms.

“There should be more guidance and regulation from the states on basically — take political advertising as an example — what discourse should be allowed?” Zuckerberg told an assembly of Western leaders Saturday at the Munich Security Conference. “Or, on the balance of free expression and some things that people call harmful expression, where do you draw the line?”

Facebook has faced accusations of mismanagement since Russia launched a series of high-profile election interference operations against Western countries, most notably the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, said federal legislation is necessary to counteract anti-conservative “political censorship,” while European Union officials are mulling antitrust proposals targeting Facebook.

“There are a lot of decisions in these areas that are really just balances between different social values,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s about coming up with an answer that society feels is legitimate and that they can get behind and understand that you drew the line here on the balance of free expression and safety. It’s not just that there’s one right answer. People need to feel like, ‘OK, enough people weighed in, and that’s why the answer should be this, and we can get behind that.’”

That argument gives a preview of the charm offensive that Zuckerberg will attempt during his meetings next week with European Union officials. His meeting in 2018 with members of the European Parliament backfired, as Zuckerberg’s performance left European Union leaders stewing that he had avoided giving specific answers to their most pressing questions. This time, he is prepared to argue that regulations are necessary to preserve free speech and privacy rights from authoritarian rule-makers.

“We need to make sure that the internet can continue to be a place where everyone can share their views openly and where the legal framework around this is one that encodes democratic values,” he said. “I do think that as part of that, we’ve got to move forward on regulation. Hopefully, we move forward quickly before a more authoritarian model gets adopted in a lot of places first.”

Source: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg requests government rules on ‘what discourse should be allowed’

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