In context: Facebook has had a rough 2018. Continued scrutiny over the company’s business practices has seemingly brought endless criticism on the social media titan and its founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The Zuck reflected on these “challenges” in a public post on his personal Facebook page on Friday. He says that he has been committed to correcting the many issues that have arisen and is “proud of the progress we’ve made.”
However, he also admitted that fighting things like election interference, hate speech, and misinformation, all while ensuring users “have control of their information,” is an on-going struggle that will take multiple years to fix.
“To be clear, addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge,” said Zuckerberg. “For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never fully be solved.”
Overall, we've built some of the most advanced systems in the world for identifying and resolving these issues, and we will keep improving over the coming years.
Facebook’s troubles seemingly began with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but the problems really go back further than that. The platform faced numerous accusations of bias in its “News Feed,” and leaks of documents seemingly proving its biased policies. The company quickly stifled these claims with denials and internal investigations.
However, once Cambridge Analytica was exposed, there was nothing the company could do to waylay the scrutiny it would bring. Since then numerous accusations have been flung at the tech giant including the sale of private personal data such as users’ 2FA phone numbers to telemarketers.
All the negative publicity, whether deserved or not, earned Facebook the undesired award of “least trusted” company in the industry. It beat out second place Twitter by 32-percentage points. Nearly half of users surveyed say they trust Facebook the least with their data.
The company’s PR department has been working overtime to save face and Zuck’s public address is just another attempt to redeem the platform in the eyes of its users. In that respect, Mr. Zuckerberg is indeed right — winning back the trust of users is a multi-year prospect.