Given the social media platform’s popularity globally, a number of countries may have to consider setting up physical establishments for Facebook within their boundaries to regulate and oversee operations and user activity.
In July this year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed into action a new law demanding foreign giant media-tech companies to establish a physical presence in the country to enable them to regulate content within the state. These are mostly American companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook/Meta, Twitter, Telegram and Tik Tok.
The law demands that companies with over 500,000 daily users should put in place local firms by the end of 2021 or face sanctions or even complete bans.
Fatboy, while commenting on the development, said that this would subject the companies to in-state laws, something Lesham strongly disagreed to.
“Does Uber adhere to the rules and regulations in Uganda when it comes to their transportation? I feel like they still maintain their own and require you to accept their terms and conditions before signing in or downloading the app. So I am not sure that having an office in the country would incline it to change these terms which don't say anything about that particular country,” Lesham commented.
However, Fatboy preferred having Facebook offices in the country given that his account got suspended for a month after he got into a fight with another user. He said that Facebook has a tendency of suspending accounts over trivial reasons like someone posting statements saying ‘Men suck’ or ‘Men are trash’ that often leads to account suspension or getting blocked.
“The establishment of physical offices would enable Facebook to understand that hate speech in some countries does not qualify as such in others and the fact that it's founded in a liberal country does not mean that it has the same laws in others,” he said.
He added, “For example, if Facebook is operating in a country where majority of citizens hold conservative views on sexual minorities, Facebook may disagree with their opinion but if its what their society holds, why should Facebook prevent them from having a conversation about such topics and not allowing them express their views? In practice, to change people’s thinking, people have to be given liberty to talk and perhaps have their mindsets changed when holding fair conversations.”
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.