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Zuckerberg Talks Guidelines For How To Regulate Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has ideas on Facebook's unique role as a company.

Facebook is something in between a newspaper and a telecommunications company, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and he wants it to be regulated accordingly, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Speaking before a conference of government and security officials at an annual security conference in Munich, Zuckerberg made the case that his website is different from a traditional news outlet where the content would be more heavily scrutinized and he’d be held accountable.

Zuckerberg said the responsibility on the shoulders of traditional news outlets comes from having an editor who would be heavily invested in choosing and curating content.

Facebook also isn’t exactly the same as a telecommunications company, which Zuckerberg said was the complete opposite, being that no one holds a telecommunications company responsible for messages sent over text or things said over a phone call.

Facebook, he reasoned, should instead be treated as a hybrid of the two. He didn’t say what he would be willing to support and didn’t clarify specifically what rules he envisioned.

Next week, Zuckerberg will visit Brussels and speak with the European Union about regulatory issues.

He has recently signaled that he would support Facebook paying higher taxes in Europe. And in comments made last March, he said he believes more regulation is needed on social media companies.

The comments made in Munich are just part of the larger conversation around the influence and power of big tech companies, which have regularly been eyed for privacy concerns and their oversized reach. The problem to those in regulatory and government circles has been how to best protect users’ information while also protecting free speech.

Facebook, often existing in the cross-section of both of those goals, has tried to maintain the balance, such as with a new study by independent research commission Social Science One, which studied Facebook data and could provide helpful information on how fake news spreads. But concerns regarding the privacy of users have cropped up with the project.

Other social media officials have also called for more regulations, like Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who said he wanted to see direction from the EU over artificial intelligence. Additionally, rental company Airbnb expressed a desire for the EU to take over a registration system for hosts.

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