Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook As Fallout From Leaked Documents GrowsNovember 17, 2021
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence about the latest revelations stemming from a large trove of leaked internal documents. In a Q3 earnings call, Zuckerberg addressed the growing controversy surrounding Facebook. In part, he said that Facebook is undergoing a “Coordinated effort” to cast the company in a negative light. He defended Facebook by highlighting the company’s “Open culture” that encourages dialogue among people to make progress on a multitude of issues.
The last time Zuckerberg addressed the leaked trove of internal documents was after former employee Frances Haugen testified in front of the United States Senate earlier in October. His reaction back then was to discredit Haugen, saying she was a low-level employee. But shortly after Haugen’s testimony, another Facebook employee filed a complaint with the SEC, making allegations that are closely aligned with Haugen’s. The second employee made the complaint anonymously.
The documents that Haugen leaked painted a picture of a company that knows of the negative impact Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, have on society but has done little to stop it. Among the first issues to be leaked was the harm done to teen girls’ self-image by the online photo sharing platform Instagram. The documents also shed light on the company’s struggle to reign in hate speech and misinformation. Perhaps one of the most startling revelations was how Facebook has been used by human traffickers.
In defending his company, Zuckerberg tried to explain the enormity of the problems they were facing. For example, hate speech and misinformation are happening on a global scale that encompasses about 150 different languages. He also referred to “cultural nuance,” meaning it can be hard to interpret the meaning behind the speech. Zuckerberg said that much of the content taken down by Facebook is removed by artificial intelligence, rather than by human content moderators.
Public opinion aside, Facebook is already feeling a financial squeeze from Apple. With the rollout of the new iOS 14.5, iPhone and iPad users need to give apps permission to track their data and behavior, something Facebook relies on heavily for advertising revenue.
Before ending the conference call, Zuckerberg complimented Facebook employees for all the progress they have been making in dealing with so many issues.