theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Monday, April 1, 2019

Zuckerberg for REGULATION

Beware of tech CEOs bearing gifts from government.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The Editorial Board

Sooner or later you knew it would happen: Big tech would invite government regulation to deflect even greater intervention such as an antitrust breakup.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the latest to welcome governments to play a “more active role” in governing the internet, presumably including his company. In an op-ed Saturday in the Irish Independent and Washington Post, Mr. Zuckerberg invited European-style privacy rules for the U.S. and called on regulators to set clearer rules on “harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.”

This plea for big government to regulate big business will go down well in liberal precincts, where the tech giants have lost the political immunity they had during the Obama years. Politicians like nothing better than to claim to be taming unpopular businesses, and Mr. Zuckerberg may think he’s buying some protection from calls to break up the company.

The rest of us should be wary of CEOs bearing government gifts. The costs of regulation, such as privacy rules, are easier for bigger businesses to bear and they can create higher barriers to entry for competitors. And forgive us if we’re wary of letting politicians on the right or left dictate content decisions. Before he invites the protection of the political class, Mr. Zuckerberg should have Facebook fix Facebook.

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