Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for internet regulation

Mark Zuckerberg wants better internet regulation for "harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability." It comes after Facebook faced criticism over a deadly attack being livestreamed on the platform.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday called for governments and regulators to play a bigger role in the regulation of the internet.

In an opinion piece published in newspapers including Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine, the Washington Post, Ireland's Sunday Independent and France's Journal de Dimanche, Zuckerberg outlined four areas in need of regulation: "harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability."

"Technology is a major part of our lives, and companies such as Facebook have immense responsibilities," he wrote. "Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks."

Read more: Why you should think twice about giving Facebook your mobile number

Facebook has 'too much power over speech'

"Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree," Zuckerberg wrote.

He added that Facebook "shouldn't make so many important decisions about speech on our own" and that the situation had prompted Facebook to create an independent body to allow people to appeal its decisions.

Zuckerberg also said all major internet services should issue a quarterly report on their success in removing harmful content, and that new legislation should be introduced for protecting elections.

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Made in Germany | 05.02.2019

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'Common global network' needed

Zuckerberg believes "a common global framework — rather than regulation that varies significantly by country and state — will ensure that the internet does not get fractured, entrepreneurs can build products that serve everyone, and everyone gets the same protections," he wrote.

Facebook experienced harsh criticism this month following a deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during which the attacker livestreamed the events on the social media site.

Facebook said the video was viewed fewer than 200 times during the live broadcast and about 4,000 times in total before being removed.

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According to Facebook, 1.5 million versions of the video were removed during the first 24 hours, but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed frustration that the footage could still be found online four days later.

On Wednesday the social media giant said it would ban content supporting white nationalism and white separatism on both Facebook and Instagram, and on Thursday it said it had introduced stricter rules on advertising in the run-up to European Parliament elections in May.

New Zealand holds memorial for mosque attack victims

Call for global action

At Friday's memorial in a Christchurch park, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on her country to "be the nation that discovers the cure" to the irrational hate and fear thought to be behind the March 15 mosque attacks. But she freely admitted that New Zealand itself was not immune to such "viruses." She has won praise from around the world for the way she has dealt with the tragedy.

New Zealand holds memorial for mosque attack victims

A nation mourns

Thousands gathered for the memorial service at North Hagley Park. New Zealand has seen many outpourings of grief and condemnation after the attack, and its leaders have taken immediate action to tighten the country's previously lax gun laws. Military-style semi-automatic and automatic firearms like those used in the March 15 attack are to be banned from April 11.

New Zealand holds memorial for mosque attack victims

Singing for peace and harmony

Among those performing at the Christchurch ceremony was Yusuf Islam, also known as Cat Stevens. Islam, himself a Muslim convert, performed his song "Peace Train." "Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were snatched away in that evil carnage while they were worshipping at the mosque two weeks ago," he said before his performance.

New Zealand holds memorial for mosque attack victims

National grief

The shootings by the suspected Australian gunman also left many people injured. Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel called the atrocity "an attack on us all." But, she said, in the end a deed aimed at dividing people had "united us" instead. Services were also held in several other New Zealand cities.

New Zealand holds memorial for mosque attack victims

Speaking of forgiveness

The service in Christchurch was also attended by numerous dignitaries, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Among those who spoke was Farid Ahmed, the husband of Husna Ahmed, one of those who died in the attack in the Al Noor mosque. He told the crowd he had forgiven the shooter because of his beliefs. "I don't want to have a heart that is boiling like a volcano," Ahmed said.

law/rc (AFP, dpa)

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