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Feb. 16, 2020, 6:15 p.m. EST

Mark Zuckerberg again calls for Big Tech to be regulated, even if it’s bad for business

Facebook CEO reiterates his arguments in FT op-ed, calls for tech to be treated somewhere between newspapers and telcos in Munich speech

By Mike Murphy


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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a panel talk at the 2020 Munich Security Conference on Saturday in Munich, Germany.

Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg is once again calling for more regulation of Big Tech, even if it affects his company’s bottom line.

“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.”

That’s what Facebook’s (NAS:FB)   co-founder and chief executive wrote in an op-ed published Sunday by The Financial Times .

Zuckerberg has previously called for more government regulation of internet companies, and reiterated his arguments in favor of laws covering four major areas: elections, harmful content, privacy and data portability.

“I don’t think private companies should make so many decisions alone when they touch on fundamental democratic values,” he wrote, adding: “We have to balance promoting innovation and research against protecting people’s privacy and security.”

Zuckerberg warned that regulation could have “unintended consequences, especially for small businesses that can’t do sophisticated data analysis and marketing on their own.”

“If regulation makes it harder for them to share data and use these tools, that could disproportionately hurt them and inadvertently advantage larger companies that can,” he wrote. “Still, rather than relying on individual companies to set their own standards, we’d benefit from a more democratic process.”

Zuckerberg is in Europe, where he spoke at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday and is scheduled to meet with the European Union’s executive commission in Brussels on Monday.

At his Munich appearance, Zuckerberg spoke about what type of regulation he envisioned: “Right now there are two frameworks that I think people have for existing industries — there’s like newspapers and existing media, and then there’s the telco-type model, which is ‘the data just flows through you’, but you’re not going to hold a telco responsible if someone says something harmful on a phone line. . . . I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between,” he said, according to Reuters .

Zuckerberg also said he would support plans for tech companies to pay more taxes in Europe. “We accept that may mean we have to pay more tax and pay it in different places under a new framework,” he said.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.