Facebook’s Sandberg Says Regulate, Don’t Break Up Big Tech

In an appearance at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the social media platform didn’t anticipate the foreign interference that sought to disrupt the U.S. presidential election in 2016, but has since put up safeguards against misinformation. The company, for instance, rolled out a fact-checker verification program and increased government engagement, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Sandberg also said the company is seeking some regulation and noted that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe is a “good blueprint” for lawmaking in the U.S. “We are very much trying to usher in the next era,” said Sandberg, according to the news outlet. “We are very much working with governments to write the right rules.”

When it comes to calls for antitrust action against the platform, Sandberg noted that users of Facebook do have many social networking alternatives. “Absolutely you could share [a photo] on Instagram, but you could also share it on other services,” Sandberg said. While she noted that the company doesn’t currently have any large acquisitions in the works, she pointed out that it has made small acquisitions at prior times. Instagram, in one case, only had 13 employees at the time of acquisition.

In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post asking for regulators to take a “more active role” in making rules for how to police the web, per reports in March. Zuckerberg wrote at the time, “By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.”

At the same time, Zuckerberg noted that he wanted the government to update legislation that would protect elections, which would include new rules for political advertising on the web. That would include new rules for political advertising on the web that would “reflect the reality of the threats” with which social media platforms have to contend.


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