Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg stated that allegations that the social media giant prioritises profit over the well-being of its users is “just not true”. Zuckerberg’s lengthy statement came after whistleblower Frances Haugen testified at a Senate hearing about her experience as a former employee of the company. She alleged that Facebook prioritised profit while stoking division and also routinely made decisions that put business interest over the well being of its users.
In his response Zuckerberg said that “many of the claims do not make sense”. “At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family -- which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people's well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do?,” he asked in a post.
Zuckerberg added that the argument that Facebook deliberately pushes content that makes people angry for profit is “deeply illogical”. He said that the social media giant makes money from ads and advertisers, who consistently ask their ads not to be displayed next to anything harmful or any angry content.
He also spoke at length about Facebook’s impact on kids. Zuckerberg said that it is very important for him that everything they build is safe and good for kids. He said that since kids are using phones already, it is necessary to build experiences that meet their needs as well as keep them safe.
Facebook has worked on bringing age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too, he added. Meanwhile, Instagram has put a pause on the development of Instagram Kids after a Wall Street Journal report showed that the photo-sharing platform made mental health issues worse for children who use the platform.
“I know it's frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterised, 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,” said Zuckerberg in the statement.
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