Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a note directly to users on Tuesday night, addressing the prolonged outage on Monday as well as the damning 60 Minutes interview with whistleblower Frances Haugen. Zuckerberg assured his followers that Facebook executives are doing everything they can to prevent another historic outage of that scale. As for Haugen’s disclosures and comments, he had much more to say.
Zuckerberg posted a message that he originally addressed to all Facebook employees, but that he decided to share with the public as well. It is quite long, though only the first paragraph pertains to Monday’s service interruptions. After promising to mitigate such disasters in the future, Zuckerberg addressed Haugen, who made her case on 60 Minutes on Sunday before testifying before Congress on Tuesday. Haugen was there to explain the documents she took with her when she quit working for Facebook and delivered them to the SEC.
Zuckerberg said that Haughen’s testimony “painted” a “false picture of the company” and its motives. He wrote that “many of the claims don’t make sense,” casting doubt on the conclusions Haugen has drawn without addressing her specific accusations. He highlighted the very “Meaningful Social Interactions” algorithm that Haugen was concerned about and the creation of her entire department, without acknowledging the fact that the company reversed those changes after the 2020 presidential election was over.
“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business, and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.”
Zuckerberg then addressed the issues of mental health among younger users, saying that he designs the experience to suit his children with the best intentions. From there, he brought up the question of government oversight and regulation, saying that he is in favor of such measures despite what critics sometimes say. He did not explain why he refused to join Haugen in testifying before Congress on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg finished by promising to continue funding research of the kind that Haugen leaked and to make more of it public going forward. His post racked up many angry and sarcastic comments from users frustrated by the issues he ignored.