Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg calls for new global Internet regulations

Zuckerberg speaking at the annual F8 summit in San Jose, California in 2018. PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg called for new global regulations governing the Internet on Saturday (March 30), recommending overarching rules on hateful and violent content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

In a statement that was also published as an op-ed in the Washington Post, Zuckerberg said the company is seeking regulations that would set baselines for prohibited content and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a minimum.

"We have a responsibility to keep people safe on our services," he said.

"That means deciding what counts as terrorist propaganda, hate speech and more. We continually review our policies with experts, but at our scale we'll always make mistakes and decisions that people disagree with."

Facebook built a content scanning system that over the years has added rules based on reactions to changes in user behavior or public uproar after an incident such as the New Zealand mass shooting.

When the website's users or computer systems report posts as problematic, they are sent to one of the company's 15,000 content moderators around the world, who are allowed to take content down only if it violates a rule.

Facebook would like common standards for verifying political actors, citing practices deployed by advertisers in many countries of verifying identities before buying political ads.

Zuckerberg also suggested updating laws to include "divisive political issues" in addition to candidates and elections.

The billionaire said it'd be good for the Internet if more countries adopted rules such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation as a common framework.

Privacy regulations "should protect your right to choose how your information is used - while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services," he said.

"It shouldn't require data to be stored locally, which would make it more vulnerable to unwarranted access."

There should also be rules guaranteeing portability of data that also protects information when it moves between services, he said.

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