EU Vs. Facebook: Zuckerberg Warns Europe to Regulate Social Media Before China Sets the Rules

Written by | Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
@Eubulletin

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met top EU officials on a visit to Brussels on Monday (17 February), days before the bloc is expected to release new proposals on regulating artificial intelligence. The billionaire social network founder is the latest US tech executive to make the trip to the headquarters of the EU, which is becoming an increasingly important player in technology regulation. Zuckerberg’s visit came as the company warned that potential regulation risked stifling innovation. Zuckerberg met Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s powerful executive vice president in charge of making Europe “fit for the digital age”, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market, and Vera Jourova, vice president for values and transparency.
Vestager is set on Wednesday to release the first draft of the EU’s proposed regulations on artificial intelligence, including facial recognition, and a digital strategy, which could have major implications for tech giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google. Brussels has already pioneered strict data privacy rules and issued multibillion-dollar antitrust fines against the likes of Google. In an op-ed published in the Financial Times, Zuckerberg said big tech companies such as Facebook need closer government supervision because, in his words, “good regulation may hurt Facebook’s business in the near term but it will be better for everyone, including us, over the long term.’
Earlier on Saturday, while addressing the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Zuckerberg called for Europe to regulate social media on issues such as political messages, privacy and data portability – or risk losing ground to “authoritarian” rules set down by countries such as China. Facebook CEO said regulatory boundaries would give citizens “confidence” that tech giants were following a set of rules agreed by everyone, and that users “don’t want private companies taking decisions on how to balance social equities without a democratic process.” He also stressed the urgency, saying he was “very worried” that countries such as China were encoding “authoritarian values” in their regulation of the internet.

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