It’s suspiciously convenient that Facebook already fulfills most of the regulatory requirements it’s asking governments to lay on the rest of the tech industry. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Brussels lobbying the European Union’s regulators as they form new laws to govern artificial intelligence, content moderation and more. But if they follow Facebook’s suggestions, they might reinforce the social network’s power rather than keep it in check by hamstringing companies with fewer resources.
We already saw this happen with GDPR. The idea was to strengthen privacy and weaken exploitative data collection that tech giants like Facebook and Google depend on for their business models. The result was that Facebook and Google actually gained or only slightly lost EU market share while all other adtech vendors got wrecked by the regulation, according to WhoTracksMe.
GDPR went into effect in May 2018, hurting other adtech vendors’ EU market share much worse than Google and Facebook. Image credit: WhoTracksMe
Tech giants like Facebook have the profits lawyers, lobbyists, engineers, designers, scale and steady cash flow to navigate regulatory changes. Unless new laws are squarely targeted at the abuses or dominance of these large companies, their collateral damage can loom large. Rather than spend time and money they don’t have in order to comply, some smaller competitors will fold, scale back or sell out.
But at least in the case of GDPR, everyone had to add new transparency and opt out features. If Facebook’s slate of requests goes through, it will sail forward largely unperturbed while rivals and upstarts scramble to get up to speed. I made this argument in March 2018 in my post “Regulation could protect Facebook, not punish it.” Then GDPR did exactly that.
Google gained market share and Facebook only lost a little in the EU following GDPR. Everyone else fared worse. Image via WhoTracksMe
That doesn’t mean these safeguards aren’t sensible for everyone to follow. But regulators need to consider what Facebook isn’t suggesting if it wants to address its scope and brazenness, and what timelines or penalties would be feasible for smaller players.
If we take a quick look at what Facebook is proposing, it becomes obvious that it’s self-servingly suggesting what it’s already accomplished:
- User-friendly channels for reporting content – Every post and entity on Facebook can already be flagged by users with an explanation of why
- External oversight of policies or enforcement – Facebook is finalizing its independent Oversight Board right now
- Periodic public reporting of enforcement data – Facebook publishes a twice-yearly report about enforcement of its Community Standards
- Publishing their content standards – Facebook publishes its standards and notes updates to them
- Consulting with stakeholders when making significant changes – Facebook consults a Safety Advisory Board and will have its new Oversight Board
- Creating a channel for users to appeal a company’s content removal decisions – Facebook’s Oversight Board …read more
Read more here:: https://techcrunch.com/social/