Soooo ze writing is on ze wall. There were two stories posted this week about regulation, one from the Economist detailing how Euro guv'ment is taking on the tech giants (that made the cover), and then Mark Zuckerberg put out an op-ed begging for oversight. (Help me, lord, for I cannot help myself).
TechCrunch carried the letter as a response to a few years of "black eyes and growing pains" (the letter was originally published in WaPo). Zuckerberg asks for increased scrutiny, over himself and his employees, into how they handle:
We're excited about all of that (I mean, obviously. The richness of 'please save me from myself' is just too good). But it's little number four that offers to We, the People our paths to glorious salvation. There is some trepidation though. Facebook is clearly asking government to do something and in so doing, kicking the can down the road. There is alas, a problem. Just because you trust your regulators, doesn’t mean they have the competency to know what to do.
- Harmful content – he wants overarching rules and benchmarks social apps can be measured by
- Election integrity – he wants clear government definitions of what constitutes a political or issue ad
- Privacy – he wants GDPR-style regulations globally that can impose sanctions on violators
- Data portability – he wants users to be able to bring their info from one app to another
A call from number one for data portability is simultaneously both the beautiful headline of an enlightened tech leader (which I truly do believe him to be, rather than the Orwellian spinster we often portray him), and the single greatest endorsement from the old guard that a new guard might be coming. Vive la resistance, and may there be a peaceable transition.
Yours in HAT,