zuck speaks
October 17, 2019

It's not Facebook's job to keep false information off your timeline.

At least that's the perspective of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, which he shared with shared with The Washington Post ahead of a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday. While Zuckerberg says he's worried about "the erosion of truth" in society, he's just not ready to root out falsehoods on his platform altogether.

Zuckerberg and Facebook have been criticized for letting false news stories and even false claims from politicians stand on the site. That issue was the focus of an experimental ad from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in which she claimed Zuckerberg endorsed President Trump for re-election just to see if the site would take it down. Facebook didn't, and on Thursday, Zuckerberg gave a reason why. "I don't think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true," he said, adding that he fears "potentially cracking down too much" on free expression even if it can lead to confusion.

Still, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the power Facebook has on political systems is very much on his mind. He even considered banning political ads on Facebook altogether, he said Thursday at Georgetown. But that would result in a site that "favors incumbents and whoever the media covers," Zuckerberg added. Read more of Zuckerberg's political thoughts at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 26, 2019

During Ireland's highly contentious abortion ban referendum last year, Facebook blocked American pro-life groups from running advertisements in the country, despite the Irish government declining to ask the company to do so, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

"During [Ireland's] election, leading up to that referendum, a bunch of pro-life American groups advertised ... to try to influence public opinion there," Zuckerberg said. "And we went to the Irish and asked folks there, 'well how do you want us to handle this? You have no laws on the books that are relevant for whether we should be allowing this kind of speech in your election, and really this doesn't feel like the kind of thing a private company should be making a decision on.'"

Zuckerberg went on to say that the Irish government told Facebook that since they didn't have a law, the question of foreign advertising was punted back to the company to self-regulate. "We ended up not allowing the ads," Zuckerberg confirmed.

Facebook's decision to block the ads has been controversial since the company publicly announced its intent just weeks before the May 2018 referendum. "I'm not sure Irish people ever voted for Mark Zuckerberg to make these types of decisions," Gavin Sheridan wrote for The Guardian at the time.

Zuckerberg used the example of Ireland to urge countries to update their laws. "I really don't think that as a society we want private companies to be the final word on making these decisions," he agreed. Watch his comments below. Jeva Lange

March 31, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg has had a lot of ideas in his relatively short life. He announced on Saturday that he has four more new ones.

Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, wrote an op-ed published around the world, including in The Washington Post, calling on governments to take greater action toward regulating the internet worldwide. Essentially, Zuckerberg makes the case that Facebook and other companies do not have the ability to control everything that happens on their site without a more standardized legal framework. Zuckerberg and Facebook have come under fire for failing to protect their users' private information, so the timing of this op-ed makes sense. But it likely won't save the company from ongoing investigations. Here is a brief breakdown:

Harmful content regulation — Zuckerberg said that while internet companies should be held accountable for harmful content — like the videos of the Christchurch shooting that spread on Facebook — Zuckerberg argues there needs to be a standardized approach implemented by third-party governing bodies.

Election protection legislation — He then called for legislation on protecting elections because it's not always clear if an advertisement is political or not, making it difficult for companies to decide what to ban. Again, he advocated for common standards to decipher what is and what is not a fairly targeted ad.

Privacy and data protection — Here, Zuckerberg praised the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation plan. He said he wants a comprehensive, globalized plan in the same vein that does not vary country by country. Zuckerberg believes this plan would allow for people to choose how their information is used, while companies can still use certain information for safety purposes and to provide services.

Data portability — Zuckerberg's last major point is that regulation should guarantee data portability. That is, if someone shares data with one service they should be able to move it to another one, again giving users greater choice, while allowing multiple companies to innovate and compete on the web. Tim O'Donnell

March 21, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the growing Cambridge Analytica scandal in a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday, outlining a plan to avoid a similar breach in the future.

Zuckerberg described the timeline of events that led up to to what he called a "breach of trust," in which the data analytics firm reportedly accessed private information from tens of millions of users without permission. The Facebook co-founder said that many measures were already in place to prevent such an issue, but introduced a three-pronged plan for the future: investigate all third-party apps that log sensitive data, further restrict third-party developers from accessing personal information, and create a tool for users to easily control which apps can access profile data.

Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with reported ties to President Trump's campaign, obtained access to information that was originally collected in accordance with Facebook's policies, reports CNN. But the data was transferred to third-parties without permission rather than deleted, even after the company told Facebook it would dispose of the information. The breach was originally reported by The New York Times and The Guardian on Saturday, and Zuckerberg had remained silent on the scandal until Wednesday's post.

"I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I'm responsible for what happens on our platform," wrote Zuckerberg. Lawmakers are calling for Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate to address privacy and accountability issues for web-based companies. Summer Meza

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