Mark Zuckerberg Takes Hard Stance Against China And Censorship In Georgetown University Speech

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke to a crowd of students, academics and journalists at Georgetown University on Thursday amid increasing criticism for the way Facebook handles misinformation, political advertising and false claims on the network.

The 35-year-old billionaire’s live-streamed speech was a rare forum for the notoriously private tech founder. Both he and Facebook have typically relied on company blog posts and private meetings to tackle criticism. His speech at Georgetown was one of the first widely broadcast monologues from Zuckerberg on freedom of speech, echoing the framework of a political stump speech.

Investors appeared mostly unmoved by the public appearance. Facebook stock was up only 0.44% at the time this article was published.

“I wanted our services in China … but we could never come to an agreement on what it would take for us to operate there.”Mark ZuckerbergToday In: Innovation

The hour-long monologue covered a range of topics including Zuckerberg’s carefully-worded thoughts on content moderation, censorship and the role tech platforms should play in democracy. One topic stood out above all else: Zuckerberg’s stance on China.

“I wanted our services in China because I believe in connecting the whole world, and I thought maybe we could help create a more open society,” Zuckerberg said. “But we could never come to an agreement on what it would take for us to operate there. They never let us in.”