Zuckerberg to urge US to update 'rules for the internet'
In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg will tell a major antitrust hearing July 29, 2020, that the internet giant would not have succeeded without US laws fostering competition -- but that the rules of the internet now need updating.
AFP/Nicholas Kamm

Zuckerberg to urge US to update 'rules for the internet'

Glenn Chapman (Agence France-Presse) - July 29, 2020 - 7:58am

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg will tell a major antitrust hearing Wednesday that the internet giant would not have succeeded without US laws fostering competition, but that the rules of the internet now need updating.

"Facebook is a proudly American company," Zuckerberg said in prepared remarks ahead of what will be a closely-watched House Judiciary Committee hearing. 

"Our story would not have been possible without US laws that encourage competition and innovation."

But Zuckerberg also acknowledged "concerns about the size and perceived power that tech companies have."

"That's why I've called for a more active role for governments and regulators and updated rules for the internet."

Wednesday's unprecedented hearing will also feature chief executives Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet.

The CEOs of four of the most powerful companies in the world will testify remotely at the hearing, which comes less than 100 days before the US election.

The showdown in the House of Representatives comes amid rising concerns over Big Tech dominance, which has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Ultimately, I believe companies shouldn't be making so many judgments about important issues like harmful content, privacy, and election integrity on their own," Zuckerberg's prepared remarks read.

Big vs Bad

Questions at the hearing are expected to veer into issues ranging beyond whether the technology titans are abusing their power in marketplaces.

Current US antitrust laws make it difficult for enforcers to target companies simply for being large or dominant without showing harm to consumers or abuse of market power.

"We believe in values - democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression - that the American economy was built on," Zuckerberg is to say.

"Many other tech companies share these values, but there's no guarantee our values will win out."

He is to cite the example of China building and exporting a version of the internet focused on "very different ideas" from the US model.

"I believe it's important to maintain the core values of openness and fairness that have made America's digital economy a force for empowerment and opportunity here and around the world," Zuckerberg is to say.

Tech company chiefs are expected to stress how they benefit consumers, particularly during the pandemic, and face competition -- particularly from China.

The antitrust debate is being muddled by a rising "techlash" over a range of issues from privacy to economic inequality to political bias.

"Facebook is a successful company now, but we got there the American way: we started with nothing and provided better products that people find valuable," Zuckerberg is to say.

"As I understand our laws, companies aren't bad just because they are big. Many large companies that fail to compete cease to exist.

Social media giants face attacks for allegedly using their dominance to stifle conservative views -- a claim made by President Donald Trump.

Facebook has been accused of failing to curb hateful content promoting violence, including from Trump.

FACEBOOK JEFF BEZOS MARK ZUCKERBERG SUNDAR PICHAI TIM COOK
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 23, 2020 - 5:38pm

The latest news about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

December 23, 2020 - 5:38pm

Messaging app Telegram will launch pay-for services in 2021, its Russian-born founder Pavel Durov says Wednesday, as the growing company needed "at least a few hundred million dollars per year".

"Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year," he says in a statement. "We will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users." —  AFP

December 7, 2020 - 12:40pm

The Bureau of Immigration has issued a ban on employees posting content on TikTok of them dancing or performing social media challenges while in uniform.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says in a press release that the prohibition "was imposed to strictly enforce the bureau's regulations on the wearing of the BI uniform, whose integrity must be upheld at all times because it represents the institution of the Philippine immigration service."
 
"Our policy on the wearing of the BI uniform is clear.  As public servants and supposed model Filipinos, employees must proudly wear their uniform at all times, present a professional image to the public and observe proper decorum and good taste in all their actions while they are on duty," he also says.

 

December 5, 2020 - 10:34am

A souce says shortform video app TikTok and the Trump administration had not come to terms over sale of the company's US operations late Friday as a deadline loomed.

The Committee on Foreign Investment had given TikTok parent ByteDance, based in China, until midnight to come up with an acceptable deal to put TikTok's American assets into US hands.

Talks between TikTok and government negotiators will continue even after the deadline passes, and people in the US will still be able to use the popular smartphone app for sharing video snippets, the source says. — AFP

December 1, 2020 - 5:21pm

Twitter on Tuesday rebuffs Australian calls to remove a Beijing official's incendiary tweet targeting Australian troops, as China doubled down on criticism in the face of mounting international condemnation.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sparked outrage in Canberra on Monday when he posted a staged image of a man dressed as an Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to an Afghan child's throat.

The post came just days after Australian prosecutors launched an investigation into 19 members of the country's military over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

Twitter says it had marked the tweet as "sensitive," but adds that comments on topical political issues or "foreign policy sabre-rattling" by official government accounts were generally not in violation of its rules. — AFP

December 1, 2020 - 8:34am

Facebook and Google are fast becoming "human rights-free zones" in Vietnam, Amnesty International warns Tuesday, accusing the tech titans of helping censor peaceful dissent and political expression in the country.

Communist Vietnam has long jailed its critics but has come under fire in recent years for targeting users on Facebook, a popular forum for activists in the country where all independent media is banned.

The social network admitted earlier this year that it was blocking content deemed illegal by authorities, while its latest transparency report revealed a nearly 1,000-percent increase in the content it censors on government orders compared to the previous six months.

Amnesty said in a Tuesday report that it had interviewed 11 activists whose content had been restricted from view in Vietnam by Facebook this year. — AFP

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