Things are not looking too good for social media empire created by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook. The CEO testified before the Senate today after weeks of attacks about the corporation’s privacy policies. Zuckerberg seemed to agree that the company could be seen as a publisher, not just a platform. Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas questioned, “We’ve been told that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are neutral platforms, and the people who own and run them for profit … bore no responsibility for the content. Do you agree now that Facebook and other social media platforms are not neutral platforms but bear some responsibility for the content?”
Zuckerberg answered the question by saying, “I agree that we’re responsible for the content.”
Take a look at the video below:
— ABC News (@ABC) April 10, 2018
It looks like the social media mogul might have just opened the floodgates to some serious legal issues. In general, platforms are not held legally responsible when it comes to any content that is posted on them. This means that liability issues from copyright violation issues, all the way to slander, are not big issues for social media websites, as long as they operate as ‘platforms’ not ‘publishers’. Basically, you aren’t able to sue your phone company if someone slanders you during a phone call that is being carried by that provider. Things aren’t the same when it comes to publishers. On the contrary, publishers are responsible for the content they publish their platforms.
If the same exact thing was true for Facebook, you can be sure that the corporation would be on the hook for hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars when it comes to legal liability. When it comes to copyright violation, there is a statutory penalty which sits somewhere in between $750 and $30,000 per every single violation. When you consider the billions of posts that are published on Facebook each day you begin to realize just how immense Faccbook’s liability could be.
The Daily Wire wrote, “How many unlicensed photos are posted on Facebook daily? On a minute-by-minute basis? Now, instead of a photo journalist suing the person who posted the photo, the photo journalist could sue Facebook itself. And Facebook’s pockets are a lot deeper.”
When you decide that you are going to declare your platform as a political outlet, this is when the real issue begins. Some claim that Mark Zuckerberg had already begun doing this right after the 2016 presidential election. Facebook could be paying the ultimate price because of Zuckerberg’s mistakes.
During his testimony today, Zuckerberg stated that his company made an “enforcement error” when it came to censoring popular conservative commentators Diamond and Silk
Zuckerberg was questioned by Texas Republican Joe Barton. Barton read Zuckerberg a message he had received over Facebook which asked by Facebook had censored the pro-Trump African American commentators Diamond and Silk.
Zuckerberg claimed that it was all just a big mistake saying, “In that specific case,” Zuckerberg replied, “our team made an enforcement error. And we have already got in touch with them to reverse it.”
Looks like Facebook could soon be fighting for it’s life.