Zuckerberg Accuses Media, Whistleblowers of Coordinating Effort 'to Paint False Picture' of Facebook
09:16 GMT 26.10.2021 (Updated: 18:23 GMT 03.11.2022)
Earlier this month, former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen told Congress that the company was allegedly aware that it had inflicted harm on the mental health of teenagers, but did not do much to prevent content promoting hate and division, putting profit over users' safety instead.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
has accused whistleblowers and the media of plotting against the company, which remains under pressure over reports that the platform ignored hate speech and misinformation in an effort to maximise profits.
"My view is that what we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company", Zuckerberg told investors during a Monday call.
Referring to whistleblowers' claims that Facebook prioritises profits over safety, he said that "it makes it a good soundbite to say that we [the company] don't solve these impossible tradeoffs because we're just focused on making money, but the reality is these questions are not primarily about our business, but about balancing different difficult social values".
Zuckerberg added that the platform believes its "systems are the most effective at reducing harmful content across the industry".
Separately, the Facebook CEO expressed concern about "the incentives that we are creating for other companies to be as introspective as we've been", an apparent reference to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaking the platform's internal studies.
Last week, she claimed in congressional testimony that the social media network
was allegedly aware it had inflicted harm on the mental health of teenagers, but did not do much to prevent content promoting "hate and division", as well as content that created a toxic environment for teenage girls. Facebook CEO Zuckerberg denied the allegations, insisting that the company cares "deeply" about users' safety-related issues.
The testimony was followed by several other Facebook whistleblowers, including former data scientist Sophie Zhang.
25 October 2021, 18:15 GMT
She was fired from Facebook in August 2020 after she posted a 7,800-word memo, in which Zhang detailed how the company allegedly failed to do enough to tackle hate and misinformation, especially in developing countries.
In the memo, Zhang reportedly wrote: "I have blood on my hands", insisting that she was officially being fired from Facebook over "poor performance".
Zhang was echoed by another whistleblower recently alleging that between 2017 and 2020, Facebook routinely undermined efforts to combat misinformation, hate speech, and problematic content over fears of angering then-US President Donald Trump, and the potential financial impact that could ensue.