Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, didn't testify today at the whistleblower hearing. However, he posted a lengthy response to the accusations made against him. He stated that Frances Haugen's allegations don't make any sense and paint a "false image" of Facebook. These accusations are based on the idea that profit is more important than safety and well-being. He wrote that it was false. Facebook's chief executive cited the Meaningful Social Interactions update to News Feed (MSI), which was intended to display fewer viral videos while showing more content from family and friends.
He stated that the company made the changes knowing it would reduce people's time on the site. Research suggested that this was the best thing for people's health. Haugen's testimony revealed that MSI was not portrayed in a flattering light. According to Haugen, Zuckerberg preferred MSI metrics as defined by Facebook over changes that would have substantially decreased misinformation and inciting content. According to the whistleblower, Zuckerberg was presented with several solutions to make Facebook more viral and less twitchy but decided against them due to their negative impact on MSI.
Haugen claimed in the SEC complaint that Facebook allows hateful and divisive content because it's "easier for people to be angry than it is to trigger other emotions." Zuckerberg also addressed this in his post, calling it "deeply absurd". He said that Facebook makes its money through ads and that advertisers tell Facebook they don't want ads to be next to any harmful or offensive content.
Zuckerberg also stated that the research on Instagram's effects on young people was inaccurate. Although he didn't mention it explicitly, The Wall Street Journal published a mid-September article about how Instagram is toxic to teen girls. It was based on internal documents that Facebook had compiled. Although the social network published some documents from this research, Haugen gave Congress four more. Zuckerberg wrote that the platform was being defended by teens, writing that they "feel that Instagram helps them when it comes to the kind of difficult moments and issues that teenagers face."
Haugen joined Facebook in 2019 and worked on misinformation and democracy issues. John Tye, Whistleblower Aid founder, was also able to provide "tens of thousand" pages of internal Facebook documents. She also filed a whistleblower complaint to the SEC. The documents were the basis for several reports, including one that revealed that a VIP program was in place that allowed high-profile users to bypass Facebook's rules. Haugen also accused Facebook for contributing to election misinformation, and the January 6th US Capitol Riots.
Zuckerberg's post includes the following: