Facebook open to regulation, executive says
© Getty

A top Facebook executive said in a new interview that the social media giant is open to more regulation from governments around the world to address problems ranging from violent content to user privacy.

Former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Facebook’s current head of global policy and communications, told the BBC there is a “pressing need” for new “rules of the road” for tech firms, and denied that Facebook has shunned government intervention. 

"It's not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules. It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so," Clegg said.

ADVERTISEMENT

When asked whether Facebook should be tasked with fixing its problems alone, Clegg called for the platform to play a “mature role” in the regulation process.

Clegg also detailed Facebook’s investigations into outside interference in the 2016 Brexit vote, denying that Russian forces or the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which acquired user data on millions of Facebook users without their consent, influenced the “Leave” vote.

"Much though I understand why people want to sort of reduce that eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy — or some use of new social media through opaque means — I'm afraid the roots to British Euroscepticism go very, very deep," Clegg said.

The Facebook executive also defended the company’s record of removing harmful content quickly, telling the BBC it was a “matter of minutes” before it removed a livestream of the March Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand. He added that 1.5 million versions of the video were taken down within 24 hours.

He also said that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has taken steps to address teenage mental health and content about self-harm following the suicide of a 14-year-old in 2017.

"We have now shifted things dramatically. We take down all forms of graphic content. The images that are still available on Instagram have a sort of filter, if you like, so they can't be clearly seen," Clegg told the BBC.