Zuckerberg address takes on free speech, China

Zuckerberg address takes on free speech, China

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg beat a familiar drum in warning that the censored version of the internet found in China could one day be the norm globally if dominant online companies, like his, don't fight for free speech.

In his speech, Zuckerberg also expressed regret that he was unable to ever overcome China's strict censorship to enter its market.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been criticized for its policy on political ads, with the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren calling on the company to remove ads from U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign that include claims with no evidence.

Zuckerberg said he considered banning political ads from Facebook but decided against such a move because they are their own form of free expression. I'm even not that surprised that he's jumped on the bandwagon in calling for Facebook to be broken up, even though the reasons he cites are based on false statements that he's apparently been convinced are true (which. maybe is a little scary) or that it still remains totally unclear to me how breaking up Facebook fixes any of the problems discussed by supporters of such a plan (unless the problem is just "I don't want Facebook to exist.").

Warren has been a vocal critic of Facebook's rules on political ads. "The board will have the power to make final binding decisions about whether content stays up or comes down on our services - decisions that our team and I can't overturn", Zuckerberg added. "We don't factcheck political ads. because we believe people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying".

"Today, the state of the global internet around the world is primarily defined by American companies and platforms with strong free expression values", he said.

The company rejected that because product managers were loath to leave advertising dollars on the table and policy staffers argued that blocking political ads would favor incumbents and wealthy campaigners who can better afford television and print ads, the sources said.

"While we may disagree on exactly where to draw the line on specific issues, we at least can disagree", he said.

"Would we ban ads about healthcare or immigration, or women's empowerment?"

The Facebook CEO also criticized what he said was a "social trend today where I see more people across the spectrum trying to label different speech as unsafe because it may lead to political outcomes they don't want". He said Facebook, with its enormous size and scale, offers people a new kind of power, which he called "a fifth estate alongside the other power structures in our society".

The Facebook CEO was also not asked about his platform's list of potential "hate agents," which it uses to monitor high-profile political figures for potential banning, or its "deboosting" technology, which company whistleblowers say has been used to suppress the content of mainstream conservatives.

Marc Benioff, is an outspoken and activist CEO for Salesforce, and recently told CNN that he would prefer the government breaks up Facebook, a social media platform giant.

The social media giant, with almost 2.5 billion users around the globe, is under heavy scrutiny from politicians and regulators following a series of data privacy scandals, including lapses in opening the personal data of millions of users to US President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

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