Zuckerberg responds to Facebook whistleblower’s allegations

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a lengthy statement Tuesday after a company whistleblower made waves during a much-publicized Senate hearing. 

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, participated in a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing earlier that day, during which she accused the company of not having enough employees to keep track of content and said the platform harmed children. 

Now that today’s testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we’re in. I’m sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn’t reflect the company we know,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that was also sent to company employees. “We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives.”

Haugen said in the hearing that Facebook relied too much on artificial intelligence to combat hate speech, misinformation and inappropriate ads for minors and that program would only catch 10 to 20 percent of the banned content. 

Zuckerberg rebuked claims from the hearing, saying the company has been “industry-leading” in research regarding its impact and transparency. He also denies his company is as responsible for polarization as some say.

“If social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world?”

Zuckerberg continued to highlight the work in getting rid of harmful content and creating platforms like “Messenger Kids” to keep children safe. 

However, Haugen said her team could only handle a third of harmful content cases they knew about and “would likely have many more cases” if the company had “even a basic detector.”

“I know it’s frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what’s right and delivering experiences that improve people’s lives, it will be better for our community and our business,” Zuckerberg said.

Along with addressing the testimony, Zuckerberg commented on Facebook’s outage Monday, calling it “the worst outage we’ve had in years” and saying the company is working to strengthen its systems. 

Tags Facebook Facebook whistleblower Mark Zuckerberg

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