Facebook is a “proudly American company”, which would not have succeeded without “laws encouraging competition and innovation,” its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will declare on Wednesday at a hearing of the four tech giants in Congress on possible anti-competitive practices.
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Like Sundar Pichai (Alphabet, parent company of Google), Tim Cook (Apple) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon), the boss will have to defend his platform, accused on the left and on the right of having become too dominant.
In extracts from his speech consulted by AFP on Tuesday, he presents his arguments, and calls in particular for the economic patriotism of elected officials.
“We believe in certain values - democracy, competition, inclusion, freedom of expression – on which the American economy has been built,” he asserts.
“There are no guarantees that our values will win. China, for example, is building its own version of the internet on very different ideas, and exporting this vision to other countries. ”
Mark Zuckerberg had already used this argument during a hearing in October on his digital currency project, before the Parliamentary Committee on Financial Services.
He also recalls that in his opinion governments and regulators should “play a more active role” to “update the rules of the Internet” in terms of moderation of content.
The billionaire thus anticipates the predictable criticisms he is likely to suffer: many Democrats and civil society have come up against the network, considered too lax vis-à-vis far-right messages and videos or certain insulting remarks by the president Donald Trump.
Republicans believe they are censored by platforms founded in Silicon Valley, California, a Democratic stronghold.
But the hearing is supposed to focus above all on possible abuse of a dominant position by the four behemoths.
On this subject, Mark Zuckerberg is also taking the lead in addressing the issue of acquisitions, which have enabled him to transform a social network into an empire made up of two platforms (Facebook and Instagram), two messengers (Messenger and WhatsApp) and other products. derivatives, from professional services to video games.
So many opportunities to collect and analyze personal data, an essential engine of digital advertising, a sector that Facebook and Google largely dominate.
“Instagram and WhatsApp have become what they are thanks to Facebook’s infrastructure,” says the boss.
“They have matured their services by using the inexpensive and tailor-made infrastructure of Facebook, and have been able to tackle spam and dangerous content thanks to our teams and our technologies.”
As of this year, the family of four apps has reached some 3 billion monthly users.