Thierry Breton, EU tech chief, warns of more regulations for Facebook if the social media giant doesn’t mitigate apprehension about its market power and abuses on its platform, according to Bloomberg.
In an online debate with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Breton said Zuckerberg, and no one else, would be responsible for Facebook’s fate if no compromises or clarity could be found.
The two men were locked in a debate hosted by CERRE (the Centre on Regulation in Europe) on internet governance and how tech platforms should handle the coronavirus pandemic.
Zuckerberg said his worry on regulation was that it could creep closer to the Chinese style of internet governance which is more restrictive than that of the U.S. or EU.
“I don’t think there’s a question there’s going to be regulation,” Zuckerberg said, according to Bloomberg. “I think the question is whose framework is going to win around the world.”
He said the best solution to the constant qualms over the tug of war between the freedom of tech firms to do work and the need of regulators to protect privacy is a “clear regulatory framework” originating in Western democratic countries. Zuckerberg said his ideal is that this would become a standard around the world.
Breton, in response, said if Zuckerberg understood their values, “then you understand how you need to behave.” He implored the Silicon Valley entrepreneur to “be careful with democracy, be careful with disinformation.”
Breton’s comments reference the troublesome time Facebook has always had dealing with forms of hate speech, bigotry, misinformation and data breaches, which have only been exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic with a storm of fake posts regarding the virus.
Zuckerberg has already had dealings with Breton, with a recent example being the latter’s push for Facebook, Netflix and YouTube to reduce the quality of video streaming in order to release strains on the networks as everyone is online during the pandemic.
Breton, who took office last year, has made a mark in his tough lines taken with tech entrepreneurs.