Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly addressed a recent series of negative stories about the company by saying that accusations about Facebook prioritising profit over user safety are “just not true”.
“It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognise the false picture of the company that is being painted,” he wrote in a note to employees on Tuesday that he also posted publicly.
It came shortly after whistle-blower Frances Haugen, a former employee, testified in a US senate hearing about her experience there and internal research she said showed the company prioritised profit while stoking division.
Zuckerberg wrote that he was bothered about a narrative that Facebook is not worried about children’s safety. Two senate hearings over the past week have focused on Facebook’s impact on teens and young children, including Haugen’s testimony.
“When it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters,” he wrote. “We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”
Facebook doesn’t benefit from content that makes people angry or depressed or make all product decisions to maximise user interactions, Zuckerberg said. When Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to show more posts from friends and family a few years back, the CEO added, the company did so knowing that people would spend less time on the service. — Reported by Kurt Wagner, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP