The laws governing the internet, with a few exceptions, were put in place 20 years ago and “almost all of them are really out of date or non-existent,” says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
The solution going forward, Sandberg says, is a global privacy framework. Sandberg spoke Thursday at a Fortune virtual event tied to the annual Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Sandberg told the gathering of CEOs that the group should not take for granted “what kind of internet we are going to have.” Right now, “there’s a pretty open internet, which is the internet we are used to” she says, describing it as borderless and largely free.
But, she says, “there’s another version of the internet, which is really the Chinese style.” That version, she says, is one in which the government has complete control and access to all data.
“I think people don’t really understand that there are a lot of countries in between, moving more towards the Chinese model,” she says, pointing to Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam as examples. “A lot of countries are putting in place rules that create a less open internet or putting in place rules that fragment the internet.”
She says she believes that unless the international community comes together, we will “wind up in a fragmented internet that has far less privacy than even the worst situation you might find in one of the developed countries.”
Sandberg also discussed Facebook’s decision to ban then-President Trump after his supporters ransacked the Capitol earlier this month. The company had previously taken little action to curtail misinformation that Trump spread on the platform.
She acknowledged that some critics have questioned whether Facebook should have the power to remove a U.S. president from its platform. Sandberg says the company has been calling for content regulation legislation guidelines for a long time and that its decision to ban Trump “makes it very clear how much that legislation is needed.”