Big Tech podcast: Mark Scott on Europe’s new data strategy


Earlier this month, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg travelled to Europe ahead of the European Commission’s announcement of a new data strategy plan. The proposed regulations would seek to give Europe a competitive advantage by establishing data trusts to foster development in artificial intelligence technology. The tension between Silicon Valley and Brussels was on full display during Zuckerberg’s visit: while the tech executive was welcomed in state-visit fashion, his recommendation for European platform regulation was flatly rejected. 

To understand Zuckerberg’s message for the EU, David Skok and Taylor Owen speak with Mark Scott, chief technology correspondent at Politico, about the proposed data strategy and its potential implications for tech giants like Facebook.

The conversation breaks down a series of events that started on February 15, when Zuckerberg spoke at the Munich Security Conference about his company’s investment in building tools to address concerns around privacy, hate speech and democracy. He argued that private organizations shouldn’t be responsible for deciding what is acceptable online—rather, that should be left to governments.

Then, on February 17, Zuckerberg travelled to Brussels to meet with officials at the European Commission. His visit coincided with Facebook’s release of a new white paper titled “Charting a Way Forward: Online Content Regulation.”

Two days later, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the “ European Data Strategy,” absent Zuckerberg’s recommendations. “This is about trying to make sure that Europe doesn’t miss out on the next wave of tech, which is frankly mostly AI,” explains Scott. 

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