A November 14th, 2018 New York Times report now alleges that Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg repeatedly ignored multiple red flags indicating patterns of concern in the wake of the 2016 presidential elections, in favour of growing the company.
Facebook said Thursday it has cut times with a Washington public relations firm, Definers, which the Times said Facebook hired to discredit opponents. During a call with reporters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will create a new independent body that people can appeal to on whether certain content can stay up or down.
Facebook likes to say it was "too slow" to address the problems it's now grappling with, including how Russian Federation set out to manipulate conversation on the social network in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
In the letter to Sandberg, Patrick Gaspard, president of Soros' nonprofit Open Society Foundations, accuses Facebook of promoting "distortions" about Soros. Facebook is the poster child for big data hubris, while Apple has stood out for its dogged resistance to information harvesting and highly targeted advertising in an age where such things are fast becoming universal.
This involved Russians looking at the Facebook accounts of people involved in USA presidential election campaigns and, later, Russian-controlled accounts offering reporters information from hacked emails from senior Democratic Party officials. "Definers did encourage members of the press to look into the funding of 'Freedom from Facebook, ' an anti-Facebook organization". Without naming Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, the company said its actions were aimed not at fueling anti-Semitism but rather at showing that the backlash was funded by a "well-known critic" of the company.
"This staggering report makes clear that Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers", said Democratic US Rep. David Cicilline in a tweet. As a result of his words, Zuckerberg reportedly urged his team to only use Android phones. Zuckerberg also promised to start holding quarterly calls to provide updates on how this massive, thorny effort is proceeding - further proof that Facebook is hoping that more openness will help solve its many problems.
The announcement came as Facebook reported it has ramped up its ability to quickly detect "hate speech" and other posts violating community rules, with the leading social network under pressure from regulators in various countries and activists to root out abusive and inappropriate content. "Your methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy".
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