Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook describes the principle of free speech for reason not to ban political ads on Facebook. However he acknowledged that it will piss off a lot of people, but everyone’s voice has to be heard.
Zuckerberg made the decision known in a candid discussion at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2020 in Salt Lake City on Friday. Zuckerberg said that since his company is criticized for both what it does and does not do in terms of monitoring use of its platform, it will now support free speech “because, in order to be trusted, people need to know what you stand for.
“We’re going to stand up for free expression. It’s unfortunate that this is such a controversial thing. People not at risk of being censored themselves are the critics of the stance”.
In Utah, Zuckerberg acknowledged that “communication is not my best thing,” but said Facebook was ultimately about creating a place where everyone can participate. It is against such vision that the company will resist pressure to ban political ads because it would be too tough to determine the line between true and false content.
There had been a number of accusations on Facebook in recent times. The social media giant was recently accused of accepting a Trump ad that included false information of potential challenger Joe Biden and an Elizabeth Warren ad that contained false information. The Massachusetts senator said her campaign intentionally made the ad and submitted it to see if it would be approved.
George Soros the billionaire philanthropist had also warned that Zuckerberg and Facebook would help Donald Trump win re-election in 2020, thanks to a developing “informal mutual assistance operation or agreement”.
“I believe that Mr Trump and Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, realise that their interests are aligned: the president’s in winning elections, Mr Zuckerberg’s in making money,” Soros opined on New York Times on Friday.
Further, Soros accused that the only guiding principle of Zuckerberg on Facebook is “maximise profits, irrespective of the consequences.”
Also, the issue of targeted political advertising, including its use in Russian interference with the 2016 US election, continues to haunt the social media giant.
Zuckerberg agreed that the Cambridge Analytica data breach might have been avoided with better monitoring of how customer data was being handled and said the company was introducing tools to combat hate speech and terrorist recruiting.
Facebook recently announced a 27% rise in revenue for 2019 and record profits of $7.35bn for the final quarter with almost 1.6billion users daily.