Facebook dismissed calls for a break-up of the social network giant and other big internet firms on Monday, saying this would not tackle issues such as privacy, attempts to influence elections or harmful content, Reuters reports.
“Just because it is difficult to regulate the internet doesn’t mean policy makers should jump to the alternative of wishing these companies away,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, was quoted as saying in a speech in Berlin.
“The internet does need competition and it does need regulation … we want to work with governments and policymakers to design the sort of smart regulation that fosters competition, encourages innovation and protects consumers,” Clegg said.
The comments came as Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp and has almost 2.4 billion monthly users, is in the cross hairs of regulators and faces calls from some government officials for penalties or to be forcibly broken up.
While it is large in absolute terms, Facebook’s share of the global advertising market is still “relatively small”, said Clegg.
Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister, was hired by Facebook to help deal with a global backlash against the firm over its mishandling of user data and not doing enough to prevent Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Clegg said in his speech on Monday that the West should move fast on new rules or see countries like China and Russia determine the internet’s future.
“If the West doesn’t engage with this question quickly and emphatically, it may be that it isn’t ours to answer. The common rules created in our hemisphere can become the example the rest of the world follows,” he said.
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