Mark Zuckerberg wrote a long end-of-the-year post on Facebook in which he said he was proud of the progress they made in 2018. He starts by mentioning what he identified as the most important issues facing the Facebook community. In my opinion, Mark Zuckerberg downplayed the biggest concerns that people have about Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg identified some of most of the important issues as: preventing election interference, stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation, making sure people have control of their information, and ensuring that Facebook’s services improve people’s well-being. He said he was proud of the progress Facebook made on those issues.
What changes were made? Mark Zuckerberg says they now have more than 30,000 people working on safety, and that Facebook invests billions of dollars in security yearly. He also said they have multi-year plans to overhaul their systems.
A paragraph in Mark Zuckerberg’s sounds like those efforts are not really going to fix the problems:
That doesn’t mean we’ll catch every bad actor or piece of bad content, or that people won’t find more examples of past mistakes before we improved our systems. For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never be fully solved. They’re challenges against sophisticated adversaries and human nature where we must constantly work to stay ahead.
He goes on to say that Facebook has improved its systems for identifying fake accounts and coordinated information campaigns that Facebook identifies as accounting for most of the interference. Mark Zuckerberg says they now remove millions of fake accounts every day. They also partnered with fact-checkers worldwide to identify misinformation and reduce its distribution.
Personally, it feels like Mark Zuckerberg is aware of the problems, but not quite getting that the damage has already been done. Yes, Facebook should be more proactive in efforts to stop the problems Zuckerberg identified. But, it sounds like he’s not convinced that those efforts will be successful. Instead, he’s trying to emphasize how proud he is of the progress Facebook made in 2018.