Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg said he was “proud of the progress made” in 2018 to improve the world’s first social network, entangled in a series of resounding scandals for over two years that have undermined user confidence and awakened the attention of the regulators.
“For 2018, my personal challenge was to focus on some of the most pressing issues facing our community – to prevent interference in elections, to stop hate speech and misinformation. , make sure people keep control of their information and that our service improves their well-being, “Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.
“I’m proud of the progress made” in all these areas, said the young billionaire, saying in the process that the network he created and which today has some 2.3 billion users had “fundamentally” changed to meet these challenges.
“We are a very different company than we were in 2016, or even a year ago. We have fundamentally changed our DNA to prevent our various services from doing harm, and we have systematically reorganized important parts of our business to focus on prevention, “he said.
According to him, 30,000 people are now dedicated to “security measures” for which Facebook invests billions of dollars.
A series of scandals
The company was shaken by several scandals: Cambridge Analytica (sharing of personal data without the subscribers’ knowledge and for political purposes); interference of Russian pharmacies in the election of Donald Trump from the platform; organized attacks against network critics; responsibility of the platform in sharing hateful messages against Rohingya in Burma, etc.
Zuckerberg and number two Sheryl Sandberg – also in the heat of criticism – admitted to being slow to recognize problems such as manipulating information, but that was not enough to exonerate the company. The US Congress cooked Mr. Zuckerberg for several hours on Facebook’s practices and the measures taken to avoid slippage.
In the past, we have not focused as much as we should have on these issues, but now we are much more active.
The repeated problems and the difficulty to control the contents diffused on the network, while respecting the diversity of the opinions and sensitivities very varied from one country to another, make fear some people that Facebook has now become too big, too influential not to be so dangerous for democracy.
“Building a community”
Zuckerberg pointed out that studies conducted by the company have shown that “people’s well-being increases when they actively interact, but when you passively consume on the Internet it does not bring the same positive effects.”
He wants to reduce the number of viral videos that have passed from one account to another.
“These changes intentionally reduce subscriber engagement and revenue, but we believe they will help us build a stronger community and business over the long term,” Zuckerberg said.