During a live speech at Georgetown University, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg identified the three biggest threats to free speech online
- Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on freedom of expression and Facebook's role on the internet during a 35-minute speech at Georgetown University.
- During the speech, the Facebook CEO and cofounder focused on how free expression on the site had led to powerful social movements, and he identified three major threats to freedom of speech on the internet.
- Zuckerberg said he was concerned by the spread of laws that restrict free speech online, admitted that Facebook and other social media platforms run the risk of restricting their users' speech, and said that people are trying to redefine what types of speech are dangerous.
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Speaking to a live audience at Georgetown University, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook's role in providing a voice to more than 2 billion people of around the world, and why he feels it's essential to protect freedom of expression on the internet.
"People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world - a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society," Zuckerberg said. "People no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard, and that has important consequences."
Though Facebook has faced constant criticism for allowing misinformation to spread on the platform, Zuckerberg focused on the positive action that has resulted from people expressing themselves freely on social media. During the 35-minute speech, Zuckerberg pointed to the spread of social movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter as examples of free speech being used for good.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that many of the Russian agents who meddled with the 2016 presidential election used fake identities to pose as Americans and spread "distasteful" content. But he said rather than restricting what can be said on Facebook, it's more important for the company to focus on preventing fake accounts from making an impact.
"Focusing on authenticity and verifying accounts is a much better solution than an ever-expanding definition of what speech is harmful," Zuckerberg said. He said that Facebook identifies 99 percent of terrorist content before it appears in anyone's feed, and the company removes billions of fake accounts every year, often within a few minutes of them signing up for the site.
While discussing the steps Facebook has taken to defend freedom of expression, Zuckerberg also identified the three largest threats he sees to free speech on the internet, and around the world. He mentioned the increase and spread of laws that restrict free speech online, admitted that Facebook and other social media platforms run the risk of restricting their users' speech, and said that people are trying to redefine what types of speech are dangerous.