Mark Zuckerberg Posted A Refutation of Whistleblower Claims
It’s precisely what it was you expected
Facebook Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer, addressed a series of negative stories that have been published about the company. He said that accusations that the company puts profit ahead of user safety were “just not true.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s business practices in a Facebook posting on Tuesday night. This came hours after Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, gave powerful testimony to Congress. It included a variety of allegations that the social media giant had systemically prioritized profits over the safety and health of its users.
Yesterday’s Senate hearing with Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, revealed that Facebook prioritizes revenue over the well-being of its users.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, would like to tell you that this is all completely, absolutely, totally false. He’s also using the oldest argument available.
Zuckerberg stated that Facebook deliberately pushes content that angers people is “deeply absurd.”
Advertisers tell us that they don’t want ads with harmful or offensive content. We make money off ads. He wrote that he doesn’t know any tech company that aims to make people mad or depressed.
Zuckerberg addressed the topic of Instagram Kids, which was recently closed. He also said that Instagram “constantly” uses its research to avoid negative experiences for young people.
While Zuckerberg’s arguments are valid, we don’t know what Facebook does internally to protect its users’ well-being. The company doesn’t provide us with all data. Available information is derived from internal documents leaked and whistleblowers like Haugen. It often leads to different conclusions than what Facebook is offering us. If the company was more transparent about its activities behind closed doors, it would be easier to believe Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, shifts some blame towards the end of his post to other companies. He believes that these companies aren’t doing enough research on the effects they have on users. He wrote, “Even though it may be easier for us follow that path. We’re going to continue doing research because it is the right thing to do.”
Zuckerberg posted a lengthy post late Tuesday that addressed the hearing and media coverage. He believes this “misrepresents Facebook’s work” and motives.
“At the core of these accusations is the idea that profit has been prioritized over safety and well-being. He wrote that it was simply not true. He then refuted many of the points Haugen made during hearings by essentially repeating the same argument: How can Facebook do bad things when it has all those programs that are supposed to protect its users’ well-being?
“For instance, the Meaningful Social Interactions (MSI) change to News Feed has been questioned. We saw fewer viral videos and more content by friends and family. Although we knew it would reduce time spent on Facebook, the research showed it was the best thing for health. What would a company that is more concerned with profits than people do? Zuckerberg wrote.
This argument has a problem. It is possible to create many well-intentioned and sound programs but then abuses them or ignore their findings. In fact, this is precisely what Haugen stated in her testimony. According to The Wall Street Journal’s recent investigation, the Meaningful Social Interactions (MSI) change Zuckerberg mentioned is a tool that measures how Facebook users interact with content. Contrary to Zuckerberg’s claims, Haugen stated that Facebook’s reliance upon MSI caused more polarization on the platform and misinformation to spread. According to the WSJ’s recent investigation, Facebook’s internal research did not show that the MSI update to the News Feed improved the well-being and health of its users.
Zuckerberg posted on Tuesday night that “I think most people just don’t recognize this false picture of the organization that is being painted.” “I’m proud of all we do to continue building the best social apps in the world.
Haugen testified that Facebook maximizes profits at the expense of its users. According to Haugen, Facebook targeted younger users despite internal research showing that Instagram was addictive and dangerous for teens. She said that Facebook does not have the resources or willingness to address misinformation spreading on Facebook and its other platforms, like Instagram and WhatsApp. This problem is worse in countries where Facebook has less control over its content.
“Yesterday, we saw Facebook taken from the Internet… I know for over five hours that Facebook was not used to deepen divisions, destabilize democracy, and make young girls or women feel bad about themselves,” Haugen stated, nodding to the five-hour global Facebook outage Monday.
Lena Pietsch spoke on Tuesday, saying that Haugen had only been with Facebook for two years and never attended any meeting with the C-suite executives. She also noted that Haugen did not have a direct reporting relationship at Facebook. Pietsch stated that Haugen had testified six times in support of not being involved with the subject matter.
Zuckerberg also points out that private companies should not be allowed to make these decisions independently. Instead, they should have their operations regulated by the governments of the countries where they are located. This is a common argument Facebook uses, such as defending its acceptance of lies in political ads.
“At the core of these accusations is the idea that profit has been prioritized over safety and well-being. In a Tuesday night Facebook post, Zuckerberg stated that this was false. “I don’t know of any tech company that aims to make people mad or depressed. All the incentives, both business-wise and product-wise, point in the other direction.
Yet, Haugen’s testimony touched a nerve in D.C.
At the hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee stated that “it is evident that Facebook prioritizes profit above the well-being of children and all other users.”
“I believe the time is right to take action. “And I think you’re the catalyst for that action,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat in Minnesota, stated on Tuesday. She was referring to Haugen.
Although Zuckerberg’s post was a bit more detailed than usual, the core issues remain the same: Facebook is very secretive about many aspects of its platform, and when documents are leaked, they don’t paint a good picture of the company. It seems that Facebook is not making any fundamental changes despite all the talk of “industry-leading research” in identifying problems and “delivering experiences to improve people’s lives.”
Zuckerberg admitted that he found recent Facebook coverage “difficult” to read, but he did not fault his company’s actions nor any desire to change. Haugen claims that Facebook products are harmful to children, but it is still marketing them to children; Zuckerberg rebuffed.
Zuckerberg wrote that he was particularly concerned with the questions about his work with children. It is unfortunate to see a young person experiencing distress in their life who finds their situation worsening instead of being consoled. Our industry-leading efforts have been ongoing for years to assist people in such difficult times. I am proud of the work that we’ve done.
Zuckerberg called Monday’s Facebook blackout his “worst” outage in years. However, he said that it was a reminder of how vital Facebook’s platforms are to users. He wrote that the more profound concern about an outage such as this is not how many people switch over to competing services or how much money they lose but how it will affect those who use our services to communicate with their loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities.