Mark Zuckerberg calls platform accusations ‘severely illogical’

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says a whistleblower’s allegations about internal investigations “make no sense.” He calls the accusations that the company deliberately makes people unhappy and thinks money is more important “strongly illogical”

Zuckerberg is responding to a whistleblower’s revelations earlier this week on his own Facebook feed. The 37-year-old Frances Haugen gave an interview on the 60 Minutes program. She said that Facebook chose structural profit over the safety and well-being of users. Haugen also leaked an internal report that would show that Facebook knew that using Instagram was harmful to young users.

Zuckerberg says the allegations make no sense. He refers to the department that carries out scientific research within the company into the effects of social media. “If we were really going to ignore our research, why do we have a research program investigating these important issues in the first place?” He also refers to the fact that many people work at Facebook who remove ‘harmful content’. Zuckerberg also states that Facebook is transparent about the results of the investigations.

The CEO also does not think that social media has a polarizing effect on society. “If that effect is really as bad as people say, then why are we seeing polarization increasing in the US while it remains the same in many countries that also use a lot of social media?”

Zuckerberg calls it “strongly illogical” that the company would place messages higher in news feeds if it would make users unhappy. “We make money from ads, and advertisers always tell us they don’t want ads next to malicious or angry messages.” He refers to changes in the policy that Facebook implemented a few years ago. In addition, sensational articles were displayed less prominently in the news feed, and messages from friends were given a more prominent place. According to Zuckerberg, this would have been at the expense of the number of views and revenue. According to him, this shows that Facebook does not consider profit more important than engagement.

The Facebook boss says he has thought in particular about how young people use Facebook services. “The reality is that many young people use technology. Just look at how many school-age children have phones.” Zuckerberg says tech companies shouldn’t ignore that, but rather work on services that protect young people. Facebook would have done that regularly, for example by stopping work on Messenger Kids.