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A wary Fáilte for Facebook’s Zuckerberg

April 2, 2019

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Mark Zuckerberg in Dublin on Tuesday. RollingNews.ie photo.

 

By Anthony Neeson

 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has met with TDs during a visit of Ireland, this a part of a tour of Europe this week.

On Tuesday, the Facebook chief met with Dáil deputies Hildegarde Naughton (Fine Gael), James Lawless (Fianna Fáil) and Eamon Ryan (Greens) to discuss “a range of policy issues.”

Last year, Facebook came under fire for how it collects user data, while there have been accusations of Facebook being used by foreign governments during elections.

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The EU goes to the polls next month so concern over election tampering is heightened.

Before arriving in Ireland, Zuckerberg said there was a need for governments and regulators to have “a more active role” in regulating social media, especially in the areas of harmful content, election integrity, privacy and date portability.

Writing on his own Facebook page he said: “Every day we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks.

“These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t ask companies to make these judgments alone.

“I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what’s best about it – the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things – while also protecting society from broader harms.”

Mr. Lawless, who introduced the Social Media Transparency Bill to the Dáil in 2017, said he was looking forward to the meeting.

“He’s on this kind of charm offensive now, he’s coming around speaking to parliamentarians and regulators around Europe this week,” he said.

“Does he mean what he says? I know the UK Information Commissioner yesterday highlighted that, yes he’s saying all the right things over the weekend and recently, but at the same time he’s appealing the fine that was imposed on him by the UK Commissioner last year.”

 

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