Zuckerberg talks government control of the internet

Mark Zuckerberg and Orrin Hatch may not have a whole lot in common, but that is exactly what made a visit by both of them to Brigham Young University campus on Friday so interesting. About halfway through the forum, after Senator Orrin Hatch had asked several questions of Mark Zuckerberg, the young Facebook CEO interjected and asked excitedly, “so do I get to ask some questions?”

Zuckerberg asked Orrin Hatch what the government thought of the internet and technology which opened the way for several interesting discussions which I would like to talk about today.

Should the Government have control of the internet? This issue has popped up several times in congress and bills have been proposed that would allow Washington control in case of a “cyber-emergency” but Orrin Hatch told Zuckerberg that the best thing the government can do when it comes to the internet is keep out of the way.

Senator Hatch has a great deal of respect not only for the founder of Facebook but for all of the great innovators who are granted a voice by the internet. “One reason we have so much innovation on the Internet is because of a lack of regulation.” He argued that if the government began regulating or taxing the internet it would stifle the creativity that exists there currently.

Mark Zuckerberg also had some strong beliefs about innovation. He discussed Facebook’s policy concerning apps, saying that they did not want to do everything themselves, but give other developers and social media marketing services a chance to do great things with Facebook. “We have this belief … that a good, independent entrepreneur or developer should always be able to do something better than a division of a big company.”

Another big concern the government has when it comes to the internet is privacy. Facebook’s founder had a few words to say about that as well. He said that 10 years ago everyone had a completely different attitude about sharing things online. But people are much more comfortable sharing information now due partly to Facebook’s advanced privacy controls that lets you have direct control over who sees what.

He also mentioned security features that make it more difficult for your account to be hacked. Facebook has the ability to show you pictures of three people and ask which one is not your friend when you log into your account from a new computer. It can ask you questions that no one else would know.

So what do you think? Does the government need to step in? Is Facebook the exception, or does the internet free of government control have the ability to keep itself safe? Would government control of the internet stifle innovation?

Jamie Bates