Sen. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (D-Mass.) on Friday hammered Facebook over a leaked memo in which an executive argued the company's growth is justified even it comes at the loss of human lives.
“Death from bullying cannot be the cost of doing business. Terrorist attacks cannot be the cost of doing business,” Markey tweeted, referring to scenarios mentioned in the memo.
“It is @facebook’s moral obligation to maintain the integrity and safety of their platform. When they fail to do so, Congress must act,” he added.
Markey did not specify what action he’s interested in taking, but so far his Democratic colleagues in the Senate have proposed legislation that would subject digital political ads to the same transparency regulations as other radio, TV and print platforms.
Markey's criticism of Facebook comes after BuzzFeed reported Thursday on an internal memo from 2016 in which Facebook vice president Andrew Bosworth said that Facebook’s growth and connecting people warranted any potential harms.
“So we connect more people[.] That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools,” he wrote.
“The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good,” Bosworth’s memo continues.
In a subsequent statement, Bosworth said he never agreed with the post and that it was intended to be “provocative.”
“This was one of the most unpopular things I’ve ever written internally and the ensuing debate helped shape our tools for the better,” he said in a tweet defending the memo.
Facebook chief executive Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Facebook 'too late' curbing climate falsities Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens How social media fuels U.S. political polarization — what to do about it MORE disavowed the memo Thursday, saying it was something that he and most people at the company never agreed with.
"We've never believed the ends justify the means," Zuckerberg said in a statement.