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Snapchat boss calls for balance between free speech and social media moderation

By Bang Showbiz Time of article published Dec 31, 2020

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Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegal has insisted there needs to be a balance between free speech and moderating social media platforms.

The 30-year-old businessman - who launched the popular photo sharing app while studying at Stanford University and became a billionaire five years ago - has insisted users should be allowed to express themselves, even when that includes saying "really inappropriate" things.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We've definitely taken a proactive approach to the content that's distributed on Snapchat, but at the same time, you know, should platforms be responsible?

"For example, for telephone calls, I would say no - if you pick up the phone, and you say something really, really inappropriate and outrageous to your friends, the telephone company isn't responsible for what your friend said, your friend is responsible.”

However, Spiegal also noted the importance of finding a balance between a huge audience - more than 70% of 13 to 34-year-olds in the US - and letting people exercise their right to free speech.

He explained: "We do want to make sure that our platform is the place where people can express themselves and even though they say inappropriate things sometimes, our government actually has a whole legal framework to protect that sort of self expression and free speech."

Meanwhile, Spiegal also added while he would be "happy" to pay more taxes, he would expect some of the money to be repaid into tech funding by governments.

He added: "The history of great nations really tends to be built on huge breakthroughs in technology and a lot of times that technology is founded on government investment.

“I think it's really easy today in our political system to focus on the failures, rather than these amazing successes.

“Regulation is only one part of a comprehensive technology strategy - the rest of it really has to be oriented around...investment in new technology.”

BANG ShowBiz Tech

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