China is exporting its social values, political ads are an important part of free expression, and the definition of dangerous speech must be kept in check, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued today in a speech at Georgetown University.
He criticized how American companies that do business with China were becoming influenced by the country’s values. “While our services like WhatsApp are used by protestors and activists everywhere due to strong encryption and privacy practices, on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these same protests are censored, even here in the US!” Zuckerberg said. “Is that the Internet that we want?”
Because Facebook couldn’t come to an agreement with Chinese censors and thereby doesn’t operate in the nation, “Now, we have more freedom to speak out and stand up for the values that we believe in and fight for free expression around the world.” While he didn’t mention Apple, the NBA, and Blizzard who are amidst scandals about cowwing to Chinese policy, the shade thrown at them was clear.
Live from Georgetown — Standing For Voice and Free Expression.
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 17, 2019
Zuckerberg spoke today for 40 minutes at Georgetown University and then did a Q&A to share his thoughts on speech and “how we might address the challenges that more voice and the internet introduce, and the major threats to free expression around the world.” He discussed how “We want the progress of free expression without the tension” leading people to advocate for pulling back on free expression. “Where do you draw the line?”
Zuckerberg says that Facebook now has 35,000 people working on security, and the company’s security budget is higher now than the whole revenue of the company when it IPO’d, which was $5 billion in 2012. Facebook removes or downranks content that is objectively dangerous. Still, he says that he doesn’t want to “let the definition of what is dangerous expand beyond what’s absolutely necessary.”
Coining a new phrase, Zuckerberg noted that “People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society.”
On allowing political ads on Facebook even if they carry misinformation, Zuckerberg argues that “political ads can be an important part of voice, especially for local candidates, up and coming challengers and advocacy groups that the media might not otherwise cover. That way they they can get their voice into the debate.” While that may be true, the same system allows whichever group or candidate has the most funding to dominate the narrative.
I recently argued that Facebook should drop all political ads until regulation to prevent their …read more
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