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Mark Zuckerberg Is Literally Begging Europe to Regulate Facebook: ‘It Will Be Better for Everyone’

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent the weekend in Europe telling anyone who would listen that he wants regulation — even if it damages his company’s business. But experts are skeptical about Zuckerberg’s overtures, and say he is once again abdicating responsibility for the…

Mark Zuckerberg Is Literally Begging Europe to Regulate Facebook: ‘It Will Be Better for Everyone’

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent the weekend in Europe telling anyone who would listen that he wants regulation — even if it damages his company’s business.

But experts are skeptical about Zuckerberg’s overtures, and say he is once again abdicating responsibility for the worst content on his platform and avoiding real scrutiny, all while spending tens of millions on lobbying efforts to ensure any new regulations are toothless.

Zuckerberg began his European tour on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, where he dismissed claims that Facebook had undermined democracy, exacerbated societal divisions, or contributed to political polarization — despite large amounts of evidence that it has.

What the Facebook co-founder did say was that his company should be regulated like something between a newspaper and a telecoms company, adding that it simply could not vet all the 100 billion pieces of content posted on its platform every day.

Zuckerberg said he supported state-backed regulation in four areas: elections, political discourse, privacy, and data portability.

“We don’t want private companies making so many decisions on how to balance social equities without democratic processes,” he added.

Zuckerberg expanded on this in an op-ed for the Financial Times published on Sunday, saying he welcomed regulation even though it will damage his company’s bottom line.

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“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,” he said.

Zuckerberg will now meet European commissioners in a closed-door meeting in Brussels on Monday “to discuss a framework for new rules and regulations for the internet,” a Facebook statement said.

In his op-ed, Zuckerberg said, “to be clear, this isn’t about passing off responsibility,” but that is just how many experts see Facebook’s approach to regulation.

“This is called a punt,” Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a New York-based association of online publishers, said in a tweet, pointing out that Zuckerberg has repeatedly refused to appear before the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy, and Democracy, a group of international lawmakers seeking to hold Facebook to account.

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