Just over a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal threw Facebook at the center of a global controversy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told George Stephanopoulos he was proud of the progress the company has made in combating the spread of misinformation and major privacy breaches.
He defended the company’s actions after terror attacks including the recent mosque attacks in New Zealand that were livestreamed on Facebook, and stressed that the company needs to work harder than ever to “amplify the good things that people do and to mitigate and remove as much of the negative as possible.”
Zuckerberg also expressed confidence about the 2020 U.S. presidential elections and expanded upon his vision of privacy and regulation. The exclusive interview will air on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.
Despite global outcry over the livestreamed mosque shootings in New Zealand, Zuckerberg still resists implementing time delays on the platform.
Facebook has previously admitted that its artificial intelligence failed to flag the attack video. Asked if a delay on livestreaming would have limited the views of the attacks, Zuckerberg said, “it might, in this case.”
“But it would also fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people. Most people are livestreaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can’t be together,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s one of the things that’s magical about livestreaming is that it’s bi-directional, right? So you’re not just broadcasting. You’re communicating. And people are commenting back. So if you had a delay that would break that.”
The tech mogul also said he was “confident” about next year’s U.S. presidential elections.
“Because there have been a number of major elections since 2016, where the results have been relatively clean on this front. We’ve learned a lot since 2016, where, obviously, we were behind where we needed to be on defenses for nation states trying to interfere,” Zuckerberg said.
However Zuckerberg stopped short of guaranteeing the same kind of disinformation campaigns would not be disseminated across the company’s platforms.
“What I can guarantee is that they’re definitely going to try. That’s what we’ve seen. So our job is to make the defenses stronger and stronger, to make it harder for them to do what they’re doing and to build the right partnerships with other folks in the industry and in the intelligence community, so that way, together, we can get a good sense of what is going on out there and help keep this safe,” he said.
Zuckerberg added that the company will spend more on safety and security in 2019 than the company’s total revenue going into its IPO. The company made $3.7 billion in 2011 the year before it became public.
As all of the tech platforms battle offensive material and false information, Zuckerberg revealed a few details about Facebook’s planned independent oversight board, which will determine what content is acceptable.
The board would have a “judicial structure” with about 40 people who are experts on “free speech and safety,” Zuckerberg said. “If you’re in the community, if we take something down that you think is valid expression, you’re going to be able to appeal that to this oversight board. And they’re going to have the binding authority to make a decision.”
Zuckerberg also took time to point out his focus on building what he calls the digital equivalent of the living room. “I think that’s going to be an important trend, data not sticking around forever,” he added.