Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said he is worried that China-style regulation of internet platforms could be replicated in other countries, as leaders across the world consider greater online laws.
The social network chief is concerned about which type of internet laws will come out on top in years to come, suggesting he wants “more democratic” Western countries to lead the way.
Speaking in a live discussion with EU commissioner Thierry Breton, Mr Zuckerberg expressed concern about the “really dangerous” model used by countries like China where censorship is the norm, fearing it could become attractive to nations still on the fence about how they want to regulate.
“What I worry about is right now, I think, that there are emerging two very different frameworks that are underpinned by very different sets of values,” he said.
Zuckerberg @CERRE_ThinkTank LIVE debate #CERREdigital:
We are working very hard to make sure that we collaborate with governments around the world during the #covid19 crisis on #misinformation & ensuring the #networks can handle it. https://t.co/J4vUfCH786
— CERRE (@CERRE_ThinkTank) May 18, 2020
“Just to kind of be blunt about it, I think that there is a model that is coming out of countries like China that tend to have very different values than Western countries that are more democratic.
“I think right now a lot of other countries are looking at China and their economy and the companies that are coming out of there, and saying, ‘Hey that model looks like maybe it might work, maybe it gives our government more control over different things’.
“So it might be attractive in different ways to force everyone to localise data and make it so that, basically you don’t have to respect human rights quite as much, in how the society gets run and I just think that that’s really dangerous and I worry about that kind of model.”
The 36-year-old believes a clear framework from the West could be the “best antidote” in preventing a Chinese-like approach from becoming prevalent elsewhere.
It is not the first time Mr Zuckerberg has taken aim at China, having criticised the country’s state censorship mechanisms, claiming that Facebook’s lack of presence in the country meant it was able to make decisions more freely about freedom of expression – in contrast to social rivals such as TikTok.