Facebook boss backs tighter rules on ‘harmful online content’

Mark Zuckerberg says mix of existing rules for telecoms and media industries could be used to regulate social media.

Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2020
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a panel talk at the 2020 Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020 [Johannes Simon/Getty Images]

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, has backed the regulation of harmful online content, suggesting a mixed system based on existing rules used for the telecoms and media industries to do so.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Zuckerberg on Saturday called for a legal framework that encodes “democratic and open values” to regulate social media and expressed hope there was swift progress “before a more authoritarian model gets adopted in a lot of places first”.

“I do think that there should be regulation on harmful content … there’s a question about which framework you use for this,” Zuckerberg said during a question and answer session.

“Right now, there are two frameworks that I think people have for existing industries – there’s like newspapers and existing media, and then there’s the telco-type model, which is ‘the data just flows through you’, but you’re not going to hold a telco responsible if someone says something harmful on a phone line.”

“I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between,” he said.

Facebook and social media giants including Twitter and Alphabet’s Google have come under increasing pressure to better combat governments and political groups using their platforms to spread false and misleading information.

Zuckerberg said Facebook had improved its work countering election interference and now employed 35,000 people to review online content and implement security measures.

Those teams and Facebook’s automated technology currently suspend more than one million fake accounts each day, he said, adding that “the vast majority are detected within minutes of signing up.”

“Our budget is bigger today than the whole revenue of the company when we went public in 2012, when we had a billion users,” he said.

“I’m proud of the results but we will definitely have to stay vigilant.”

Source: News Agencies