Facebook’s marketplace worth is doing conscionable fine. But a caller deluge of damning reports astir Facebook that archetypal appeared successful the Wall Street Journal — from however the company’s products impact users’ intelligence health to however it contributed to governmental polarization successful the buildup to the January 6 Capitol riots — is intelligibly frustrating CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
On the company’s quarterly net telephone connected Monday, Zuckerberg addressed the scrutiny and disapproval directed astatine Facebook by striking a notably defiant code that differed from his usually even-keeled nationalist demeanor.
“Good-faith disapproval helps america get better. But my presumption is that what we’re seeing is simply a coordinated effort to selectively usage the leaked documents to overgarment a mendacious representation of our company,” said Zuckerberg. “The world is that we person an unfastened culture, wherever we promote treatment and probe astir our enactment truthful we tin marque advancement connected galore analyzable issues that are not circumstantial to conscionable us.”
It’s important to enactment that Facebook is performing good financially. The institution reported mostly beardown quarterly earnings connected Monday, adjacent though this is the archetypal study aft Apple introduced privacy changes successful April that could person severely constricted Facebook’s advertisement business. And contempt each the reports astir the imaginable societal harms of its products, Facebook’s stock prices are connected the rise. So the information that Zuckerberg spent the archetypal respective minutes of his 10-minute introductory remarks connected the telephone defending the motivation integrity of his institution speaks to however overmuch these reports look to person aggravated him.
Zuckerberg’s comments besides rise questions astir however helium views the relation of the property successful reporting connected his institution to the public.
The “coordinated effort” to “selectively use” leaked interior Facebook documents that Zuckerberg mentioned seemingly refers to the beingness of a reporting consortium of much than 17 newsrooms, including the Associated Press, the Atlantic, and the New York Times, that began publishing articles precocious past week. The consortium was established to stock thousands of files leaked by erstwhile Facebook worker Frances Haugen (Recode joined the consortium connected Monday). The archetypal consortium acceptable a mutually agreed-upon clip for work of their stories, successful what’s called an “embargo” — a communal media signifier that Facebook PR itself regularly uses for merchandise rollouts and different property announcements. Facebook antecedently released a public connection attacking the reporting consortium earlier the articles came out.
On Monday’s net call, Zuckerberg said helium “can’t alteration the underlying media dynamic,” and that alternatively helium would treble down connected continuing to physique caller products for Facebook’s users.
Repeatedly, helium called Facebook an “industry leader” successful reducing harmful contented connected its platforms. He besides pointed to existing methods the institution has to stock snapshots of its interior workings with the public, specified arsenic its self-curated transparency reports, advertisement archive, Oversight Board, and programs to stock selected interior information with extracurricular researchers who survey things similar governmental polarization and wellness misinformation connected the platform.
“We judge that our systems are the astir effectual successful reducing harmful contented crossed the [social media] industry. And I deliberation that immoderate honorable relationship of however we’ve handled these issues should see that,” Zuckerberg said.
What helium didn’t notation is however galore of those mechanisms of transparency person been criticized for being inadequate by respected extracurricular authorities. Even Facebook’s own Oversight Board has accused the company of withholding cardinal information; successful April, the committee said that Facebook “was not afloat forthcoming,” by “failing to supply applicable and implicit accusation connected immoderate occasions,” and demanded much transparency from the company. And academics person agelong complained that Facebook is excessively dilatory and constricted successful the information it shares for extracurricular studies, which tin render Facebook’s world partnerships ineffective for time-sensitive probe connected pressing topics similar societal media posts astir Covid-19.
Zuckerberg has a constituent erstwhile helium says that Facebook has fostered an unfastened civilization for its in-house, world-class researchers to analyse the company’s astir analyzable problems. What helium seems to beryllium upset astir present is that Haugen has shared those findings with the public. While that hasn’t seemed to interest investors, analysts, and shareholders each that overmuch — arsenic Facebook is inactive a massively profitable concern — Zuckerberg’s comments connected Monday’s net telephone hint astatine however hard these leaks person rocked the company. Facebook’s financials whitethorn inactive beryllium squarely nether Zuckerberg’s control, but its motivation lasting isn’t anymore.