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Facebook (FB) CEO Urges for Standard Internet Guidelines

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Facebook’s (FB - Free Report) CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stated that governments and regulators should come together for determining safe-play content rules for Internet companies. This, in turn, will also allow regulators to hold the companies accountable against common rules.

Areas such as harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability need more regulation per Zuckerberg.

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM)

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM) | Facebook, Inc. Quote

Key Areas that Need Focus

Harmful Content

Zuckerberg suggested that external bodies should set rules concerning the distribution of harmful content, thereby making it easier to target and eliminate such content. Notably, Facebook is working with the government of France to know the efficiency of its content review systems. Moreover, the company will create an independent body where its decision can be appealed.

Although Facebook regularly reviews its policies around spread of fake content, it is practically not feasible for it to completely curb it owing to its huge presence. This often takes a toll on its popularity especially among teenagers as Snap’s (SNAP - Free Report) Snapchat was the most used platform by teens in 2018.

Election Integrity

Facebook has been taking a number of measures to improve ad transparency on its platform after the company faced severe criticism due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

However, the company says identifying an ad that is targeted for political agenda is not always easy. Notably, “”online political advertising laws primarily focus on candidates and elections, rather than divisive political issues” where the interference is most. Therefore, the common set of rules may help Facebook easily identify such ads and avoid being caught in data scandals.

Other companies trying to combat political interference and improve transparency include Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google.

Privacy

Zuckerberg believes that when frameworks like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are adopted across the globe, companies can easily understand how to deal with user data. Additionally, the guidelines will help entrepreneurs build products following those rules, especially when dealing with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), an area not covered by GDPR.   

Notably, GDPR rules applicable in European Union (EU) place tight control on how companies deal with user data. Failing to abide by the rules will attract huge fines.

Data Portability

To empower developers to compete equally and create innovative services, data sharing among platforms should be allowed if it is shared with a single platform, per management. However, this should be supported with clear guidelines on who will be responsible for securing the data when it is moved across different platforms.

Lower Costs May Boost Top Line

With the above guidelines in place, Facebook can reduce its expenses as it can avoid employing content moderators. Most importantly, the company will save billions by avoiding fines as it may be relatively easy to follow standard guidelines rather than building its own rules in each country.

The reduction in expenses may drive the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock’s top line. Notably, the company stated that 2019 total expenses will grow approximately 40-50% more than 2018.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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