Belfast Telegraph

Facebook's Zuckerberg to be quizzed by Irish officials today

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

By Adrian Weckler

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is to meet a number of Irish officials and politicians in Dublin today.

The 34-year-old billionaire is scheduled to meet Irish members of the so-called International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News, including TDs Hildegarde Naughton (FG), James Lawless (FF) and Eamon Ryan (Green Party).

A statement from Ms Naughton said that the TDs would raise "a number of concerns, including the regulation of social media, transparency in political advertising and the safety of young people and vulnerable adults".

The move comes after Mr Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed jointly published in The Sunday Independent and The Washington Post, setting out ideas for how harmful content, political misinformation and privacy might be dealt with.

In the piece, he said that Facebook may now have too much power of online speech. He called on national legislators and regulators to pass more specific laws on what defines harmful content and illicit political content.

Last week, Facebook announced that it would require a new 'paid for by' sticker on ads placed for the upcoming European Parliamentary elections.

The company is introducing the transparency move having repeatedly come under fire over disinformation that is seeded on the platform.

One of the TDs, Fianna Fail's James Lawless, says that he will raise the issue of political advertising online.

"In our country, the electoral acts haven't caught up with online political advertising," he said.

"But Facebook does have a responsibility here too."

Mr Zuckerberg visits Dublin as part of a tour of Europe to discuss policy and other matters.

Yesterday, the Facebook founder posted a video interview with Mathias Döpfner, the chief executive of Germany's largest news publisher, Axel Springer. In it, Mr Zuckerberg hinted that Facebook may soon build a section for paid journalism on its platform.

This might take the form of a "news tab to surface more high-quality news", he said, adding that Facebook could "potentially have a direct relationship with publishers to make sure that their content is available, if it's really high-quality content".

A licensing fee could emerge, he added.

"That's definitely something I think we should be thinking about here because the relationship between us and publishers is different in a surface where we're showing the content on the basis of us believing that it's high-quality, trustworthy content," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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