Zuckerberg Grilled About Facebook’s Official Policies
Members of Congress questioned Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg about the social media giant’s censorship of content during his two-day long congressional hearing. The content in question was written by Catholic organizations. While the CEO apologized, he did not satisfy everyone.
Zuckerberg said the company committed a mistake when it blocked an advertisement created by the Franciscan University of Steubenville. The university used a crucifix in an online ad. Facebook sent a message to the institution that the ad was “sensational” and showed excessive violence. Zuckerberg admitted it was wrongly blocked and it did not violate any terms of service.
The grilling comes days after it was discovered that personal data of many Facebook users were compromised. More than a million Facebook users are affected. A number of tough questions were centered on whether Facebook tried to verify if the news content was legitimate after multiple accusations of the Kremlin influencing the 2016 presidential elections. It was alleged that conservative voices were shut down more than others. The social media company founder assured the Congress members that Facebook offers a viable platform for all kinds of ideas. It has safeguards to make sure the disseminated content remains unbiased.
Zuckerberg quickly admitted that Facebook made mistakes. He admits one of the many mistakes done by the social media company was to initially block posts from Diamond & Silk, the two conservative commentators. The list of other contents blocked includes an Easter advertisement issued by a Catholic university. These incidents were among many which Republican lawmakers mentioned in a hearing conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. They questioned whether a liberal bent is displayed by Facebook when it comes to content decisions. Ted Cruz, the GOP Senator from Texas alleged the same on April 10.
Zuckerberg told members of Congress that content review issues will be easier in the future due to the development of artificial intelligence. This is the reason Facebook continues to invest in such technology. However, the subject brings to the forefront multiple thorny issues linked with free speech.