Zuckerberg rejects claims that Facebook prioritizes profits over user safety

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday finally addressed the series of claims made by whistleblower Frances Haugen, denying that the social media company prioritizes its profits over the safety of its users.

“At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook profile. “That’s just not true.”

Zuckerberg’s comments come after nearly a month of reports out of the Wall Street Journal that have relied on internal Facebook research provided to the publication by Haugen, who left the social media company in May. The stories have highlighted numerous problems on Facebook’s services that the company is aware of but either ignores or does not resolve. This includes research that shows Facebook is aware that Instagram is detrimental to the mental health of teenagers.

“Of everything published, I’m particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids,” Zuckerberg said. “I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it’s very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids.”

Zuckerberg’s post comes after Haugen spent Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill testifying before senators on both sides of the aisles on the problems the social media company creates for society.

Without referring to Haugen, Zuckerberg said “many of the claims don’t make any sense.” Zuckerberg also said that “The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical.”

Zuckerberg also called on Congress to update internet regulations that determine what age teens should be allowed to use internet services, how tech companies should verify users’ ages and how companies should balance giving kids privacy while giving parents visibility to their children’s online activity.

“Similar to balancing other social issues, I don’t believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own,” he wrote. “That’s why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now.”

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