Mark Zuckerberg proposes conditional “intermediary liability protection” model for internet platforms

Governments are growing more concerned with large online social media and content platforms in the wake of Camridge Analytica and the general penumbra of misinformation and disinformation. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a US senate committee in 2018 and refused to appear before a similar investigation in the UK. The senate committee subpoenaed him, along with the CEOs of Twitter and Google, forcing appearances before congress due to start this Thursday.

In an opening statement today, Zuckerberg proposed a compromise between previous “all-or-nothing” approaches. Rather than deciding as a rule whether to hold platforms liable for user content, Zuckerberg suggested platforms should demonstrate a certain level of precautions in order to be granted freedom from liability.

This model sounds promising in its ability to hold platforms accountable to a reasonable degree without making their general platforms too risky to maintain. It does, however, sound rather cynical in context of Facebook’s historical approach to privacy and moderation in general, and Zuckerberg’s previous statements in particular. We’ll need to keep an eye on further testimony as it unfolds.

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