Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya took to the world's largest social media platform on late Thursday PST to retract some strongly worded criticism of his former employer whom he accused of "destroying how society works" during a talk held in November at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In his subsequent post on Facebook, Mr. Palihapitiya said his remarks were meant to spark a dialogue about an important issue and not single out any particular social media company. The 41-year-old added that he still feels "love" for Facebook but stayed by his comments that the industry did a lot of damage to society in recent times by not actively taking precautions from avoiding malicious use of its services.
Mr. Palihapitiya's original remarks were made in regards to misinformation campaigns and similar abuses of social media that were witnessed in the last several years, with the venture capitalist saying he feels "tremendous guilt" for being involved in shaping Facebook into the product it currently is in a period between 2005 and 2011. While the Menlo Park, California-based company rarely comments on such criticism, it did so after Mr. Palihapitiya's Stanford talk was picked up by various media outlets, with a company official stating that the firm changed in the last six years and is now striving to be as responsible as possible, even at the cost of profits. "Facebook is a force for good in the world," Mr. Palihapitiya said as part of his partial retraction, adding that the public discourse should move to the topic of an effective and responsible use of social media and the manner in which such technologies are introduced to younger generations instead of his recent comments.
Facebook's fight against misinformation campaigns and other abuses of its platform has never been more intensive, albeit recent reports suggest the company is still struggling to produce significant results, especially in regards to the so-called "fake news" phenomenon. Despite its newfound troubles, Facebook is still growing at a rapid rate, having recorded $10.3 billion in revenue in the third quarter of the year, a 47 percent increase compared to Q3 2016. The firm is now placing a larger focus on social responsibility and inclusiveness, though critics remain adamant that it must also address the social media bubbles it helped create.