CCIA congratulates Facebook on the news Thursday that it now has 1 billion active users. It's a milestone worth celebrating for those who built this platform to communicate across the world from a Harvard dorm room. Since its founding 40 years ago, CCIA has seen our membership and the nature of our Industry evolve and expand, and the stunning success of this young innovative young company is further proof of the importance of our industry economically, socially, and culturally.
It is staggering that 1 billion people, non-profits and companies have chosen this platform as a way to communicate with friends, colleagues and customers. It's a reminder to me, and all of us fighting for Internet freedom, that these battles matter - and the stakes are high.
The battle to protect the rights of the billions who rely on the freedom of the Internet continues in many ways. Whether it's getting language in trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that discourages Internet filtering and censorship or keeping countries like Russia and China from gaining more international governmental power over the Internet through international organizations. There are now one billion Facebook Internet users who are counting on policymakers and advocates to protect their freedom to communicate freely. This means 1 billion users can post comments and content in real time without waiting for some editor or censor to decide whether it can appear online.
For users to have that, companies like Facebook that allow user-generated content, must continue to have protection from prosecution for what their users do with that freedom. Responsible companies like Facebook follow current laws and remove content that may violate national laws. But the danger of laws that pressure Internet services into becoming an online police force is constant.
The US needs to be the model for online freedom not just for countries that want to restrict it, per se, but also seek to and impose new restrictions for many seemingly noble reasons to combat social ills. We hope Facebook's milestone is a reminder of what's possible when Internet freedom thrives for one Internet company and the 1 billion users who depend on it. And we hope it's a reminder to all of us why this battle for Internet freedom is so critical.
Follow Edward J. Black on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ccianet