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Facebook has a message for global policymakers: Its time to regulate.

But a senior official from the worlds largest social network called on politicians in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to find an international consensus on how to police the digital world.

If one cannot not be found, the online world may soon become divided along national borders as lawmakers from different countries take digital rulemaking into their own hands.

“Mark Zuckerberg has become more anxious that Facebook is being asked to regulate itself in a way that no private company should be expected to do,” Nick Clegg, the companys newly appointed vice president for global affairs and communications, told POLITICO. “Hes been asked to preside over areas that he cant do on his own.”

Facebooks plea for greater regulation marks a significant shift from the companys previous strategy, which included efforts to water down digital rules that could have hampered its multibillion-dollar business, according to records reviewed by POLITICO.

But Zuckerbergs call to politicians comes as lawmakers worldwide are gearing up for a new push for digital legislation aimed at curbing the perceived excesses of many of Silicon Valleys largest names. That includes potential new U.S. federal privacy legislation after California passed its own data protection rules last year, as well as European antitrust investigations into how these companies use peoples data.

On Monday, Facebooks chief executive will meet with German leaders, including Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, head of the ruling Christian Democratic Union party, and Katarina Barley, the countrys federal justice minister.

“Global leaders need to grapple with these ideas,” said Clegg, a former U.K. deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats. “If not, we will get an ever-more Balkanized internet.”

Facebook is also trying to get ahead of such regulatory clashes after suffering a series of scandals that have harmed its reputation with politicians and the general public, alike. That includes the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved Facebook users data being collected and then used during the 2016 U.S. presidential election without their consent.

British officials last year fined the social network £500,000 for its role in the data leak, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is gearing up for an even heftier fine — and potential changes to Facebooks business model — because of the scandal.

Acknowledging that people have become more wary of how their data was used online, Clegg reaffirmed the companys view that Europes new privacy standards, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, should be adopted by U.S. lawmakers.

“Its the bedrock for the internet age,” said Clegg, before adding that Europes rules are not perfect. “Its the right framework to be used for a multilateral approach, including in the United States.”

Harmful Content

The U.S. tech giant has also been criticized for its failure to detect and remove illegal content — everything from jihadist propaganda to the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand — from its platform. Clegg said that national politicians should take a greater responsibility for setting the rules over how such material should be policed.

Countries like France and Germany already have passed tough laws to force companies like Facebook to remove harmful content, including politicized misinformation, from their networks. But Clegg rejected efforts by some politicians in Europe and the U.S. to Read More – Source

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