Mark Zuckerberg said he is 'worried' about China setting the agenda for tech regulation

insider@insider.com (Isobel Asher Hamilton)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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  • Mark Zuckerberg said he's worried that China's approach to internet regulation could catch on around the world during a streamed video conversation on Monday.
  • Zuckerberg said two very different models are emerging for internet regulation in China and Western countries.
  • He said the best way to stop China setting the global agenda is for Western democracies to set up their own robust frameworks.
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Mark Zuckerberg said during a streamed video conversation with EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, that he fears China could end up setting the global agenda on how governments regulate internet platforms.

Zuckerberg said he thinks there are two models emerging for how to regulate the internet.

"I don't think that there's a question that there's going to be regulation, I think the question is whose framework is going to win around the world. What I worry about is right now I think there are emerging two very different frameworks that are underpinned by very different sets of values," he said.

"Just to be blunt about it, I think there is a model coming out of countries like China that tend to have very different values than Western countries that are more democratic. And I think right now a lot of other countries are looking at China and their economy and the countries that are coming out of there and saying 'hey, that model looks like maybe it might work,'" added Zuckerberg.

He said a model like China's would erode human rights. "I just think that that's really dangerous, and I worry about that kind of model spreading to other countries."

Zuckerberg said the best way to prevent China getting a foothold is for Western democracies to build their regulation first.

"I think the best antidote to that is having a clear regulatory framework that comes out of Western democratic  countries and that can become a standard around the world that we can show works well, and that becomes more attractive to countries that are kind of thinking more on the edge about which direction they want to go in.

The Facebook CEO lauded Europe's privacy regulation GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) as an example, and said he thought Western democracies have "the next five or ten years" to tip the balance.

This isn't the first time Zuckerberg has sounded the alarm against China's approach to internet regulation. During a speech at Georgetown university last year Zuckerberg attacked Chinese state censorship on TikTok — a Chinese company and a major new competitor for Facebook. The Facebook has also said in the past he will welcome regulation even if it harms Facebook's core business.

You can watch Zuckerberg talking about China and internet regulation here:

 

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