SINGAPORE: A hands-off approach to the Internet has made it the “largest unsupervised space on the planet”, says Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the influential United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Since the Internet’s inception, many governments have tended towards minimal regulation, prioritising innovation rather than protection. But Wheeler suggests the turning point is nigh, with social media platforms coming under mounting scrutiny as hotbeds of fake news and hate speech.
“They weren’t breaking physical objects, they were breaking the standards that had provided stability for the last century,” says Wheeler in an interview with CNA, referencing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s old company motto, “move fast and break things”.
Technology companies have always favoured self-regulation over legislation, though their record has been patchy.
WATCH: How we can regulate the Internet and Big Tech: former US internet watchdog head (22:48)