Saying goodbye to one of his toughest years filled with several controversies, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “proud” of the progress in 2018 and the company has now established multi-year plans to overhaul its systems and is executing those roadmaps.
In a year-end note on Friday, the 34-year-old Zuckerberg said his personal challenge has been to focus on preventing election interference, stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation, making sure people have control of their information and ensuring his services improve people’s well-being.
This, however, does not mean Facebook will catch every bad actor or piece of bad content on its platform, he said.
“To be clear, addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge. For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never be fully solved,” the Facebook CEO lamented.
“But we’ve now established multi-year plans to overhaul our systems and we’re well into executing those roadmaps,” added Zuckerberg who faced intense scrutiny over Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018.
Scandals surrounding Facebook started surfacing in such higher frequencies that industry observers began questioning if the social media giant with over two billion users would be able to survive in the long term.
Leading the charge of the attack on Internet “monopolies” was American billionaire investor George Soros, who warned that social media companies can have adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy and that the days of the US-based IT giants were numbered.
Scrutiny of Facebook increased manifold since it revealed earlier in 2018 how a London-based political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, that worked for US President Donald Trump’s campaign, improperly got access to data of up to 87 million users.
Appearing before a US Congress Committee in April, Zuckerberg apologised for the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal.
“We’re a very different company today than we were in 2016, or even a year ago. We’ve fundamentally altered our DNA to focus more on preventing harm in all our services,” the Facebook CEO stressed.
“We now have more than 30,000 people working on safety and invest billions of dollars in security yearly,” he added.
In May, he appeared before the European Parliament to respond to questions surrounding the company’s business practices, its plans on fighting misinformation on the platform and protecting user privacy among others.
“For preventing election interference, we’ve improved our systems for identifying the fake accounts and coordinated information campaigns that account for much of the interference — now removing millions of fake accounts every day,” said Zuckerberg in the year-end note.
“For stopping the spread of harmful content, we’ve built AI systems to automatically identify and remove content related to terrorism, hate speech, and more before anyone even sees it,” he said, adding that these systems take down 99 per cent of the terrorist-related content before anyone even reports it.
More than two billion people use one of Facebook services every day.
“People have come together using these tools to raise more than $1 billion for causes and to find more than 1 million new jobs. More than 90 million small businesses use our tools, and more than half say they’ve hired more people because of them,” said Zuckerberg.