The company co-founder and controlling shareholder told CNN directly: “That’s not the plan.”
Zuckerberg also offered support for the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who has long been viewed as the mature influence on the company’s boyish founder. He has credited her with spearheading many of Facebook’s most ambitious efforts.
“She has been an important partner for me for 10 years,” Zuckerberg said in the interview tonight. “And, you know, I am really proud of the work we have done together and hope we work together for decades more to come.”
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Some in Silicon Valley had wondered whether Sandberg would become a corporate casualty following the New York Times investigation, which revealed the extent of her role in managing the Russian influence campaign, the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the rise of propaganda on the platform.
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Here’s a portion of the interview:
Zuckerberg acknowledged, as he has frequently, that the company was slow to recognize the role of his social network played in spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 election, but added that Facebook has spent the past two years strengthening its systems to detect this kind of manipulation.
“Anyone who wants to say that upon learning about this, we haven’t been very focused on trying to both address it and also that we have — I think anyone who says that we haven’t made a lot of progress, I just think that that’s not right,” said Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg sought to downplay the political calculation that factored into Facebook’s decision not to remove candidate Donald J. Trump’s post from 2015, in which he described Muslim immigrants as a threat to America. Sandberg and Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s head of public policy, concluded that shutting down his account would abridge free speech — and anger conservatives.
“I was involved in those conversations, and I think it’s very important that people have the opportunity to hear from what political leaders are saying,” Zuckerberg said, adding that political backlash, “was certainly not part of any conversation I had.”
CNN’s Laurie Segall asked Zuckerberg how Facebook plans to restore public trust. The executive offered a flavor of response he’s said multiple times in the past, that the social network always will be confronted with issues because it’s a platform where 2 billion people come to express themselves.
“A lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we’re going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering this,” said Zuckerberg.
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