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EMAILED ON April 2, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Zuckerberg makes the first move in his chess match with regulators

In a Saturday op-ed in The Washington Post, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg declared “the internet needs new rules,” and, ever so kindly, offered some suggestions.

The manifesto — which reversed several previous positions — was meant to outmaneuver regulators and give Facebook power to decide how it gets regulated (not everyone was pleased).

If Zuck has to play by the rules, he would also like to write them

After renewed calls for regulation of big tech, Zuckerberg recognized the inevitability — and decided he might as well do the regulating himself.

Over the weekend, Zuckerberg suggested 4 areas in need of regulation: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability — all things that Facebook has struggled with firsthand.

Yesterday, FB positioned itself as a champion of a regulated net by lifting the hood of its mysterious News Feed and hinting at plans to pay publishers for the rights to distribute “high quality” news content.

Will the people fall for  the ol’ ‘Zuck and roll’?

Reactions were mixed. Regulators didn’t appreciate the self-regulation: “I don’t think it’s ultimately for Mark Zuckerberg to decide how much regulation Mark Zuckerberg is prepared to accept,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Bloomberg.

But the markets, on the other hand, did favor the framework: Facebook stock rose over the weekend after the op-ed was published and then again on Monday, closing up 1.2%.

The stakes for Zucko’s latest gambit are high: With the 2020 election looming, Facebook stares down not just the threat of bad publicity but also a good ol’ trust-bustin’ breakup if antitrust criticisms continue.

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