TD: Mark Zuckerberg needs to 'put his money where his mouth is' in relation to GDPR

Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless wants Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to “put his money where his mouth is” and reveal his intentions for Facebook in relation to the adoption of GDPR rules worldwide.

Mr Lawless is one of a number of Irish politicians who will meet with Mr Zuckerberg in Dublin today.

He told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland that he is looking forward to meeting Mr Zuckerberg as this is an area on which he has been working for some time.

The Fianna Fáil backbencher introduced the Social Media Transparency Bill to the Dáil two years ago in light of the US elections and online interference.

The issue of electoral interference and harmful content is huge worldwide, he said, especially in light of the recent shooting in New Zealand, and he believes moderators are struggling to keep on top of managing content.

“Mr Zuckerberg is appealing to people by saying all the right things. He's on this kind of charm offensive now, he's coming around speaking to parliamentarians and regulators around Europe this week.

James Lawless

“Does he mean what he says? I know the UK Information Commissioner yesterday highlighted that, yes he's saying all the right things over the weekend and recently, but at the same time he's appealing the fine that was imposed on him by the UK Commissioner last year."

Mr Lawless said he wants to find out Mr Zuckerberg's intentions after saying he wanted Facebook to adopt GDPR type rules worldwide.

However, he pointed out that last year Mr Zuckerberg transferred around 500 million data sets out of Dublin the night before GDPR came into force.

In light of this action, Mr Lawless said he wants Mr Zuckerberg to “put his money where his mouth is.”

Mr Lawless warned that Mr Zuckerberg cannot continue to resist the notion that Facebook is still just a platform rather than a publisher.

"The old idea was that a newspaper or broadcasting show was a publisher because it had some editorial control and a platform was a computer that was pretty much dumb, that didn't have any knowledge other than the binary code.

"Facebook has gone far beyond that, it’s very sophisticated, it targets people with algorithms in great detail depending on all their habits and shopping preferences and cultural preferences.

It's gone far beyond being a series of ones and zeros and it’s actually a very active, proactive publisher which is pushing content in front of people based on their preferences.

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