Zuck To Regulators -- 'I Agree.... Your Turn'

This weekend's op-ed in the Washington Post was a masterpiece by Mark Zuckerberg. I don't just mean the article, which actually read very well and progressed his arguments well. No, this was a very clever tactical move.

Digital marketing observers, myself included, have been pointing out the increasingly obvious direction of travel for the industry. Regulation, and talk of regulation, is everywhere. Whether it's GDPR in the EU or the CCPA in the US, fines for collating data in the EU or an investigation into lacklustre permissioning in the UK, Facebook is at the forefront of the 'better regulation is needed' conversation.

That is, of course, not even to mention the furore over Cambridge Analytica, nor Zuckerberg's highly publicised turning down two invitations to answer MPs' questions at Westminster. Then there is the public outrage at harmful content that the parents of at least one teenager claim prompted their daughter to take her own life. 



Plus, we have European elections coming up with a new system of greater transparency, but still campaigners are wondering what happens when you know who is putting up political ads but still don't have a clue where the money is coming from -- as is the case with the UK's biggest political advertisers on social media in the past six months, Britain's Future.

A change is coming, that's for sure -- and Mark Zuckerberg knows it. So what would you do if you'd hand a fairly free rein to rake in billions for the past decade and a half?

Simple, you take a lesson out of the judo master class. You don't oppose the force that is coming at you -- you use it to redirect the blow. 

That is effectively what Zuckerberg is doing with his latest writing, which appears to be a "mea culpa" confession but is actually, in my opinion, a very smart return of serve. 

There is very little to argue with in the concise op-ed. New rules are needed so regulation can be rolled out in a uniform fashion. The clever points he makes are that currently the problem is there are different rules in various countries, and so much comes down to an individual's call on whether content is fake news or a great political point. 

In one fell swoop Zuckerberg has accepted the way of the changing world, but he has also pointed out to governments that they have a massive role to play in this. If different platforms have different standards and each country has its own rules, then regulation can easily become a mess.

What is needed is for governments to agree to their own rules and get these aligned with those of other countries. 

You can almost see Zuckerberg typing the final full stop (guess he's call it a "period") and saying, "Yeah, and good luck with that."

2 comments about "Zuck To Regulators -- 'I Agree.... Your Turn'".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 1, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Agreed, but even if the devil is in the details, once those details are finally realized someday, the devil is still inside.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 1, 2019 at 5 p.m.

    He would rather direct the writing of the regulation (a lot of clueless and time constrained politicians) and constrain any kind of competition.

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