Will Castleberry, Facebook’s VP of state and local policy, said that “people have multiple choices for every one of the services we provide. We understand that if we stop innovating, people can easily leave our platform. This underscores the competition we face, not only in the U.S. but around the globe. We will work constructively with state attorneys general and we welcome a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which we operate.”
Issues across a wide spectrum have hit Facebook in recent days, everything from the bumpy rollout of its Libra currency to riots in Bangladesh linked to a Facebook post to continuing heat over the company’s role in elections. Last week, at Georgetown University, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on the company’s plan to continue carrying political content.
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At Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said regulators will assess consumer harm but not look to punish companies strictly according to size. “Big is not bad,” he said. “Big behaving badly is bad.”
“I believe that it is important for people to be able to hear and see what politicians are saying,” Zuckerberg told Holt. “I think that when they do that, that speech will be heavily scrutinized by other journalists, other people.”
Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said at the Journal conference that political ads are “not a big part of our business” and “probably not worth the scrutiny and the criticism we’re getting for it.” Even so, Facebook is committed to smoothing out its process with the goal of serving as a viable and democratic alternative to vastly more expensive TV buys. “We’re working through this live and with the public,” he said.
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