Facebook "Will Dig Through This Hole," Mark Zuckerberg Says

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Facebook “will dig through this hole” even though doing so is likely to “take a few years,” co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a recent interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, referring to the company’s issues which started with the Cambridge Analytica scandal in mid-March and have since snowballed into a wider debate on digital privacy and the manner in which Facebook should and shouldn’t be regulated. “I wish I could solve all these issues in three months or six months,” Mr. Zuckerberg said, having explicitly stated that coming up with such an immediate and comprehensive solution isn’t a realistic scenario.

While speaking of Facebook’s recent struggles, the 33-year-old stated some issues are unavoidable for a company that enjoys such an unprecedented business scale in a largely uncharted territory, having clarified he judges Facebook’s success based on its ability to address missteps in a responsive manner and ensure they don’t happen again, and not the sole number of mistakes made. The interview also saw Mr. Zuckerberg compare Facebook’s corporate structure to that of a government, with the multi-billionaire revealing the company is currently in the process of coming up with new additions and changes that are meant to make its platform more transparent and democratic. One concrete example given by the entrepreneur is an appeals process that would allow users to appeal Facebook‘s decisions to take down their content. Initially, such appeals will be handled internally but the firm is ultimately hoping to see them reviewed by an independent organization, thus adopting a structure that’s “almost like a Supreme Court,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Facebook’s CEO also acknowledged the firm’s recent efforts to fight foreign agents looking to pursue misinformation campaigns through its platform, having specifically referenced the alleged Russian meddling with the 2016 presidential election in the United States and asserting the company is now much better at combating such practices, partially due to its new collaborations with various government organizations. Outside of traditional spammers and state-sponsored actors, the third and what Facebook deems is the most challenging category of the so-called “fake news” to deal with are real media outlets with an inherent political bias. “Folks are saying stuff that may be wrong, but they mean it, they think they’re speaking their truth, and do you really wanna shut them down for doing that,” Mr. Zuckerberg asked rhetorically.


That state of affairs is what prompted Facebook to start focusing on promoting trusted sources, though the entrepreneur acknowledges its current system can easily lead to incumbency, making it harder for new media outlets to break through its content rating algorithms, regardless of the quality of their content. While Facebook recently also started placing a larger emphasis on local news, no major initiatives meant to combat heavily misleading content without automatically discrediting young outlets have yet been announced by the firm. In terms of its current content algorithms, Mr. Zuckerber said Facebook is often incorrectly criticized about a simplistic content formula that prioritizes News Feed posts based on misleadingly generated clicks. “We moved past that many years back,” the CEO said, having revealed Facebook is presently ranking content based on what real people say is meaningful to them as part of its internal testing.