Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks SOPA, PIPA

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has released a statement opposing the upcoming U.S. anti-piracy legislation Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Not even 30 minutes after I posted about how Facebook is not participating in the SOPA blackout, even though the company opposes both SOPA and PIPA, I noticed Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had released a statement at 10:00 am PST. As you can see in the screenshot above, he made the post on Facebook, of course, and it already has over 100,000 Likes. Here's the full text:

The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.

The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.

You can read more about our views here: https://www.facebook.com/FacebookDC?sk=app_329139750453932.

Zuckerberg even sent out a message on Twitter, which he hasn't done for almost three years: "Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-internet. My Facebook post is here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10100210345757211." The link at the end takes you to a new tab on the Facebook Page named Facebook Washington DC: Anti-Piracy Bills. Here's the "Our Position" section:

PROTECT IP and SOPA could create very real problems for Internet companies like ours that are a primary driver of innovation, growth, and job creation in the 21st century economy. The bills contain overly broad definitions and create a new private cause of action against companies on the basis of those expansive definitions, which could seriously hamper the innovation, growth, and investment in new companies that have been the hallmarks of the Internet. In addition, we are concerned about provisions in the bills that could chill free expression or weaken the Internet’s architecture.

Arguably the most important bit is the "Getting Involved" section at the bottom:

  1. NetCoalition Rogue Website Legislation resource center
  2. Tech industry letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committee leadership
  3. Share this link with friends and encourage them to join the conversation
  4. Share your thoughts with Congress via NetCoalition's petition here

As I was writing this article, I also got an e-mail from Facebook telling me about all this, as well as two more statements from key company executives. This was clearly all planned, although not exactly in perfect coordination.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg posted the following on her Facebook profile today at 9:46 AM PST:

There is an important debate happening in DC on how best to prevent piracy on the internet. We think PIPA and SOPA are the wrong way to go. Read more here to learn more and add your voice. https://www.facebook.com/FacebookDC?sk=app_329139750453932

Facebook VP Elliot Schrage posted the following on his Facebook profile today at 6:27 AM PST:

Speak out against SOPA and PIPA -- tell your Congressmen and Senators that there are better ways to fight piracy than by censoring the internet.

This is all fine and dandy, but I still think Facebook could have done better. Why not tell all of your 800 million monthly active users about the bills? Only a small fraction of the website's users are going to see these statements and the Anti-Piracy Bills tab. Why not put a banner up on Facebook with a link to the new page? If the company can do this in order to explain ads to its users, it can do the same for SOPA and PIPA. At the very least, do so for just U.S. Facebook users.

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