LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner raised concern about a tide of tech regulation following recent data privacy scandals. Of particular concern is the impact of removing tech company immunity for the content shared by users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. If the Section were removed, social networks would be forced to proactively censor posts.
“Even if the [technology] industry were to do greater self-regulation, you’re going to see more regulatory oversight.”
Just as the wide use of algorithms has provided a megaphone to misinformation and fringe social media, regulation can have unintended consequences. “The unintended consequences work both ways,” said Weiner. “Companies make decisions only with the best of intentions, and there are unintended consequences of those decisions. But from a regulatory perspective, I think it’s the same thing.”
“You could stifle a lot of innovation. You could stifle a lot of openness. You could stifle a lot of the things that create value by virtue of changing these liability rules and laws. That is just almost a canonical example of where these unintended consequences would really proliferate. The things companies would need to do to ensure that they were protected is going to hurt the way in which people can communicate with one another.”LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner
LinkedIn operates in China where it is subject to censorship. The firm decided to enter the market as it’s mission is to create economic opportunity globally. “The censorship issue in China is always a painful one,” he said. “It has to be navigated and managed in the context of the broader vision.” While LinkedIn is advocating for Section 230, its parent company has taken a pro-regulatory view on data privacy, calling for an American version of GDPR. Microsoft has built GDPR into the infrastructure of its platforms.