Facebook India Head Ajit Mohan has urged the need for a futuristic and positive regulatory framework for internet companies at the Raisina Dialogue. He also reiterated the importance of ensuring transparency while using customer data by the tech companies in order to “protect the interests of privacy and safety when data moves around.”
Facebook New Rules to Govern Needs of Internet
The executive underlined India’s explosive growth of internet users in the last few decades as new challenges emerge with such large sets of data as privacy and security is a big concern.
“We absolutely do believe that the internet needs new rules, not just in India but around the world. We operated for a very long time with not enough clarity on the traffic lights. And this is the moment when we should think especially in democratic societies, think about how we navigate complex issues where there are competing trade-offs. I’m hoping that we can emerge with a very forward-looking and positive regulatory framework,” he said at the Raisina Dialogue.
Facebook Emphasises on Transparency and Behaviour Algorithms
Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook India, also emphasised how transparency and behaviour algorithms fed into machines can help control people’s lives.
“One is transparency mandates. Make it the company’s to be more transparent about how data is used. Second, there’s a lot of concern about algorithms, and how machines are controlling people’s lives. I think we would be very keen to lean in and say how do we protect user agency where people have the opportunity to make explicit choices that drive algorithms,” he said.
Tech Companies Benefit from Large Sets of Data
Mohan also explained how large tech companies could benefit from large sets of data as India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook users and 21 crore Intagram users.
“I think we have been very forward in saying we are open to creating frameworks that still protect the interests of privacy and safety when data moves around, but make it easier for users to move data between competing platforms. I do believe that we are a partner in this. But I agree with the framework that we need rules and we hope those will be forward-looking and positive,” he added.
Furthermore, he said that adopting an open Internet is an area where the US and India can work together.
“I think democracies will have to decide the future of the internet, and in particular, US and India, and I do believe that it’s an explosive opportunity for the two countries to work together, and a lot of the classical models of trade that has influenced the debate over the last few decades may not be relevant here.”
Mohan also highlighted the importance of Facebook’s positive influence in transforming India for a good cause in the coming decades. The social media company seems well geared-up to face the future challenges of handling content like hate speech on the platform.
With India presenting one of the biggest markets with largest userbase for Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, the growth opportunities are endless.
Facebook’s Focus on Safety and Security
Mohan concludes that the company is investing heavily in people and systems to ensure the platform is free from harmful content while letting users enjoy total control of their content.
“The company has been leaning in on safety and security to make sure that harm is reduced to the extent possible… much of our energy is focused on how do we make sure that we reduce harm but equally, how do we continue to expand the canvas for people and businesses to make sure that they are able to use platforms like ours to move from an idea to a company that is relevant around the world, to build communities in the middle of the pandemic,” he said.