At the weekend Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg penned a rather bizarre blog post. The blog post called for regulation of the internet, and for governments and regulators to establish these regulations.

Yeah, we were also surprised that a member of Silicon Valley has made an about-face and is now calling for government and regulators to help them.

While we could point and laugh at Zuckerberg for bowing to “the man”, he makes some good points and appears to concede that Facebook has become a beast he can no longer control alone.

The first point Zuckerberg makes is about harmful content. The problem Facebook faces is how to decide what constitutes hate speech. Looking locally for a second, last week the South African Human Rights Commission found that comments made by EFF leader, Julius Malema, are not legally hate speech.

Now had Malema made a questionable statement on Facebook it would be up to a moderator to decide whether or not Malema was guilty of sharing harmful content and that is a hard thing to ask of a person who might not understand local laws.

“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree. I’ve come to believe that we shouldn’t make so many important decisions about speech on our own. So we’re creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions. We’re also working with governments, including French officials, on ensuring the effectiveness of content review systems,” Zuckerberg said.

The founder says that with the swathe of online services, a standardised approach to regulating harmful content online is vital to slowing the spread of it.

“One idea is for 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 added.

Stopping elections from being compromised again

With local elections just around the corner there is a fear that votes may be swayed by online sentiment.

Zuckerberg tells governments that they should be looking at home long standing laws and regulations are now being challenged by the internet.

“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,” wrote the Facebook founder.

Data protection should take cues from GDPR

According to Zuckerberg, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) implemented in Europe last year, provide a good basis for data protection around the world.

The founder says that data protection laws must both protect the privacy of citizens and provide law enforcement with the tools to access said information where it is vital for the protection of others.

“As lawmakers adopt new privacy regulations, I hope they can help answer some of the questions GDPR leaves open. We need clear rules on when information can be used to serve the public interest and how it should apply to new technologies such as artificial intelligence,” adds Zuckerberg.

Data portability

One of the more surprising points made by Zuckerberg is data portability. Essentially, the Facebook founder is saying that users should be able to move data they shared with one service to another service.

The founder says that more services should look at how Facebook does this by allowing folks to sign in to various platforms using their Facebook account.

“True data portability should look more like the way people use our platform to sign into an app than the existing ways you can download an archive of your information. But this requires clear rules about who’s responsible for protecting information when it moves between services,” explains the founder.

Zuckerberg concludes by saying he looks forward to discussing his ideas with government which is rather different to his attitude last year where he refused to meet with European lawmakers.

“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,” the founder concludes.

[Source – Facebook]