EU Denies Facebook’s Recent Proposal of Regulations

This past Monday February 17, Facebook proposed their own set of regulations and rules for data collection via the internet. EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Monday after meeting with Zuckerberg, that it was up to Facebook to conform to European standards, not the other way around, as he bluntly described the new internet rules introduced by Facebook as insufficient.

Facebook’s proposed new rules: Facebook’s “Charting a Way Forward on Online Content Regulation” asks four key questions when it comes to online content censorship and ownership.

  1. How can content regulation best achieve the goal of reducing harmful speech while preserving free expression?
  2. How can regulations enhance the accountability of internet platforms?
  3. Should regulation require internet companies to meet certain performance targets?
  4. Should regulation define which “harmful content” should be prohibited on the internet?

Facebook then proposes their solutions and answers to these questions generally saying current laws are too intrusive and that companies should enact procedures such as “periodic public reporting of enforcement data.” The same day Facebook published their new ideas for future data regulation, Zuckerberg released an Op-Ed on the Financial Times.

What he said: Zuckerberg’s article points to four key areas just like the recent Facebook whitepage. Zuckerberg calls for more regulation around:

  • transparency of content censorship/moderation
  • Political Advertisements
  • Data sharing transparency
  • “openness” 

Both of these articles are asking regulators to shape the future of data regulation, but in favorable ways to how Facebook currently works. Zuckerberg validates both papers by stating that they’ve recently been working with the French and New Zealand governments. Zuckerberg even stated, “I believe good regulation may hurt Facebook’s business in the near term but it will be better for everyone, including us, over the long term.” Is this an honest attempt at helping provide a stable, reliable set of regulations for the internet, or is this Zuckerberg attempting to make sure Facebook is still ahead of the US laws and legislators?

Facebook has struggled recently attempting to outmuscle the EU when it comes to data privacy and protection, just last week their dating service failed to launch due to privacy concerns. They’ve been facing many legal cases regarding apps and services that have breached consumer privacy, and now they’re asking legislators to help them. Facebook is asking for more regulation which will effectively hurt their business in the near term, but if the regulations they’re asking for are put in place, Facebook will have effectively lobbied international governments for favorable laws for them specifically.