Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to claims made by an ex-employee that alleged that the company was hiding from investors and the public its shortcoming to prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
In a lengthy post shared on Zuckerberg’s official Facebook page on Tuesday evening, the CEO offered a statement that he had initially given to company employees. In the note, Zuckerberg shared his frustration, saying recent coverage of Facebook does not “reflect the company we know.”
“It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives,” the post reads. “At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted.”
A new wave of public scrutiny befell Facebook after a massive exposé on the company’s practices was published last month by The Wall Street Journal. The series alleges that Facebook execs have failed to take action to fix problems within the company. On Monday, Frances Haugen came forward as the whistleblower who provided documents to make the exposé possible.
“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook, and Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen told “60 Minutes” in an interview conducted by correspondent Scott Pelley.
“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” Zuckerberg’s statement reads. “We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.”
Zuckerberg also acknowledged the networking blackout that brought Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp servers down on Monday. The outage marked the longest downtime that Facebook has suffered since March 2019.
“We’ve spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure,” Zuckerberg said. “This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn’t how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services…”
Read Zuckerberg’s full letter here.