Facebook Inc. has made mistakes in controlling the use of its data and has improved its monitoring of fake news but can’t be expected to police the global internet, spokesman Nick Clegg said in an interview in El Pais.
Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communication said the technology company can identify and warn users that certain content might be false, but that it’s not its role to provide alternatives to individuals so that they can get a more objective perspective.
“We work with organizations that monitor whether something is true or not, whether there are exaggerations or false facts,” Clegg told the Spanish newspaper. “But we can’t be a policeman on the internet saying what is acceptable or what is absolutely true. The freedom to say stupid things is the freedom of an open society.”
Facebook and other giant technology companies are facing increasing scrutiny in Europe and the U.S. for the volume of personal data they have collected on users of their services. Regulators and governments have focused on social media’s vulnerability to manipulation and as platforms for the dissemination of fake news, hate speech and fomenting violence.
Clegg said that Facebook delivered more than was asked of it by the European Commission during this year’s European Union elections, working with each of the national electoral councils.
The company has also come under the cosh for its plan to launch a cryptocurrency known as Libra. Clegg said perceptions that this is a Facebook currency are inaccurate, since control will be distributed equally among its founding members. Some of those have been wavering on the project, with PayPal Holdings Inc. on Friday announcing its decision to pull out. Clegg said Facebook would accept any decision made by regulators about Libra’s viability.