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Why Mark Zuckerberg is embracing more regulation of political ads on FacebookND
James Hohmann, The Washington Post, Wednesday April 11
It’s long been a benefit for technology companies to be insulated from the sorts of trying government requirements that apply to other industries. So why would Zuckerberg support a new law that could hurt his bottom line? First, desperate times call for desperate measures, and Zuckerberg knows his net worth could be impacted by a few billion either way based on his performance before the Senate and the House. Second, there is value in regulatory certainty, and Facebook is desperate to avoid European style regulation in the US, which could undermine its highly profitable business model. Third, a new law would force Facebook’s competitors too to spend more on compliance. It’s no coincidence that Zuckerberg references all platforms in his prepared testimony. He wants Google and Twitter to be required to spend the same amount as Facebook for the same purpose. Fourth, regulations could make it harder for smaller companies to take on Facebook, as they usually favour big business when applied equally. Fifth, regulations could improve Facebook’s standing with customers – if people judge Facebook to be a ‘bad’ company, they will stop posting personal information to the site. Even if they don’t delete their accounts that would be bad for the business long term. Finally, embracing regulation could rehabilitate Zuckerberg’s personal brand, as he currently risks turning from a hero to a villain in the public imagination. Zuckerberg is reportedly so obsessed with how he’s perceived that he has had a full time personal pollster on staff to track even small shifts in his image.
For more information see: www.washingtonpost.com