By Claire Evren
Macron welcomed Mark Zuckerberg at a Paris meant to address how they could use their g lobal influence for the public good.
French President Emmanuel Macron took on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other internet giants at a Paris meeting to discuss personal data protection and taxes as France pushes for tougher European regulations.
Emmanuel Macron has a message for the bosses of the world’s biggest tech companies: If you want to keep doing business in Europe, start thinking harder about your contribution to society at all levels.
“Thank you for being here,” the French president said today as he greeted the CEOs of more than a dozen digital giants, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, in Paris for a summit on digital affairs.
“I think it is very important now … to be sure that we improve the social situations, inequalities, climate change and that we address together these common issues,” he went on. “It is not possible to have free riding on one side, even when you make a good business.”
Macron ahead of their meeting at the Elysee palace said he planned to keep asking Zuckerberg to make “commitments.”
“France defends the idea of tough regulations” such as a 3 percent digital tax on tech companies’ gross revenue in the European Union, Macron said, adding that it’s “crucial” that internet giants pay taxes. He also wants new regulations to combat extremist propaganda online and cyber-bullying.
Privacy was another issue Macron was raising with Zuckerberg and the other tech executives in one-on-one meetings and a mass lunch in the presidential palace with philanthropists and politicians.
Macron has defended an aggressive new European data protection law that comes into effect this week. The so-called GDPR regulation will give Europeans more control over what companies can do with what they post, search and click.
Several companies took advantage of the meeting to announce new initiatives.
Microsoft said it would extend the new European data protection law to its clients worldwide. Google committed $100 million over the next five years to support nonprofit projects such as training in digital technologies. Uber said it will finance insurance to better protect its European drivers in case of accidents at work, serious illness, hospitalization and maternity leave. And IBM announced the creation of 1,400 new jobs by 2020 in France.
Mark Zuckerberg “I just met with President Macron in Paris. We had a great conversation about France as an innovation center for Europe — given the strong engineering talent here and culture of entrepreneurship. We’ve seen this first hand with our major artificial intelligence lab and our Startup Garage at Station F here in Paris. They are both doing incredibly interesting work — and it’s why we will continue to invest in France in the years ahead. Thank you to President Macron for hosting me”.
Beyond just Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was there, as was Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, along with execs and leaders from IBM, Salesforce, Samsung, and many other companies.
Tech leaders pose with guests for a photo during the summit. Included in the gaggle, in no particular order: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Samsung President Young Sohn, and SAP CEO Bill McDermott, among others.