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Sen. Mark Warner praises Mark Zuckerberg's call for tech regulation

Key Points
  • Sen. Mark Warner is "glad to see" Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledge the need for tech regulation.
  • Zuckerberg released a statement over the weekend calling for governments to take a more active and standardized approach to regulating internet companies.
  • Other politicians met Zuckerberg's calls with mixed sentiments.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
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Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who has been a vocal critic of tech companies, praised Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent call for tech regulation.

"I'm glad to see that Mr. Zuckerberg is finally acknowledging what I've been saying for past two years: The era of the social media Wild West is over," Warner told CNBC in a statement. "Facebook needs to work with Congress to pass effective legislative guardrails, recognizing that the largest platforms, like Facebook, are going to need to be subject to a higher level of regulation in keeping with their enormous power."

On Saturday, Zuckerberg released a statement calling for governments to play "a more active role" in regulating internet companies. When reached for comment on Warner's remarks, a Facebook spokesperson referred back to the statement.

Facebook has long used its own measures to regulate its platform, most recently introducing plans for an independent oversight board that would be empowered to overrule the company's decisions around user posts. While the company has said it's committed to working with governments to ensure privacy and reduce harm on its platforms, Zuckerberg's statement is Facebook's most explicit call to date for regulation.

"Internet companies should be accountable for enforcing standards on harmful content," Zuckerberg said, calling for regulation akin to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect last May. "It's impossible to remove all harmful content from the internet, but when people use dozens of different sharing services — all with their own policies and processes — we need a more standardized approach."

Zuckerberg's call for regulation could be a way for him to get in front of arguments from presidential candidates like Warren who will seize on big tech fears in their platforms. Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for Facebook to be broken up in a blog post published last month.

Facebook already faces a number of investigations in the U.S. and abroad centered around its privacy practices and concerns about its business model. So far, Warren has released the most explicit proposal to date of the presidential candidates calling to break up big tech platforms with antitrust regulation.

On Twitter, other politicians reacted to Zuckerberg's calls for regulation with mixed reviews.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, joined Warner in praising Zuckerberg's acknowledgement of the need for regulation.

"Zuckerberg is right," Blumenthal wrote. "Tech companies must be accountable for safeguarding against violent extremists & foreign adversaries. There must be strict legal limits on how platforms use our data. It's time for Congress to set clear & commonsense rules."

But Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, was still skeptical of Zuckerberg's call for regulation.

"Facebook is under criminal and civil investigation," Cicilline wrote on Twitter. "It has shown it cannot regulate itself. Does anyone even want his advice?"

Correction: This article has been updated reflect the correct attribution of Sen. Mark Warner's statement. A previous version attributed the statement to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Mark Zuckerberg calls for stronger internet regulation