Back in July Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg held two meetings with staff. During those meetings the social network’s woes, critics, crypto and future were discussed at length.
We know this because two hours of audio from those meetings were leaked and transcribed by The Verge.
One of the first things talked about is whether Zuckerberg is worried about regulators breaking up Facebook. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running for president, famously said she’d break up Facebook, Google and Amazon if she won the race.
“So there might be a political movement where people are angry at the tech companies or are worried about concentration or worried about different issues and worried that they’re not being handled well. That doesn’t mean that, even if there’s anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge,” quips Zuckerberg.
The CEO goes on to say that breaking up the big tech firms wouldn’t solve the problem of election tampering we’ve seen of late. In fact he says that this would exacerbate the problem as tech firms would find it harder to co-ordinate.
That having been said, Zuckerberg says that big tech must help create regulations that will help government govern the sector otherwise folks will continue to get angrier with the firms until they demand blood.
Skipping through a chunk of the transcript we arrive at a notable conversation – why Zuckerberg refused to testify before some hearings.
“So I mean, the reality on the hearings thing is, I’m not going to go to every single hearing around the world. A lot of different people want to do that. When the issues came up last year around Cambridge Analytica, I did hearings in the US. I did hearings in the EU. It just doesn’t really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up and, frankly, doesn’t have jurisdiction to demand that,” said Zuckerberg.
“But people are going to use the position of the company and me to criticize us,” he added.
Glad you added that last part Zuck. The fact that Facebook is perfectly happy to operate in every country of the world and even cause a genocide in one means that you have an obligation to speak to those governments directly and answer their questions.
Quite simply, Zuckerberg’s response reads like “not my country, not my problem” and struck us as rather nearsighted for a man who wants everybody in the world to be on his platform.
While a lot of what Zuckerberg says during the meeting is questionable, there’s nothing particularly damning. Indeed, Zuckerberg has said that what was said is an “unfiltered version of what I’m thinking”.
The CEO also spoke about Libra, competing with TikTok, and content moderation during the meetings.
[Image – CC BY 2.0 Anthony Quintano]