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Facebook chief backs stronger data privacy, data rules

By Emeka Aginam

Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg   has called  for regulators and governments to take a deeper role in policing the internet and introduce stronger data rules, as intense scrutiny of the company’s activities continues.

Facebook founder: Mark Zukerberg
Facebook founder: Mark Zukerberg

In an open letter published on its website, Zuckerberg said authorities needed to play a more active role, with global rules required in four areas: protecting against harmful content; election integrity; privacy; and data portability.

Despite the company’s  well-documented controversies  on use and protection of its own customer data, the executive praised the  impact of GDPR regulation  in Europe and promoted adoption of similar regulation elsewhere.

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“People around the world have called for comprehensive privacy regulation in line with the European Union’s GDPR, and I agree. I believe it would be good for the internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework,” he said.

“New privacy regulation in the United States and around the world should build on the protections GDPR provides,” Zuckerberg noted, adding that , . “It should protect your right to choose how your information is used, while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services.”

The rules should also “establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes”.

Although bullish about the need for tight data regulations, the executive has refused to meet UK regulators to discuss the well-publicised Cambridge Analytica scandal. When he appeared in front of European Parliament committees and US officials to discuss the issue he was accused of  failing to answer direct questions.

Controversies

The comments comes a fortnight after news broke of its latest privacy scandal and two months after the company vowed to fight a fine on its use of customer  data by Germany’s competition regulator. The two are the latest in a long line of  accusations related to  privacy, security and data issues  levelled at the social media company.

Facebook also faces growing pressure for perceived failings in blocking and deleting  controversial, offensive and politically biased content uploaded onto its platforms. The company said it has recently introduced a number of new policies to remove offensive content.

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