Mark Zuckerberg ‘proud’ of efforts to ‘fix’ Facebook despite scandal-plagued 2018
The 34-year-old touted several improvements to his company’s platform in a Facebook post on Friday, without specifically mentioning any of the setbacks that plagued it this year, including major data breaches, problematic internal leaks and a major stock market plunge in July.
Zuckerberg, who publicly undertakes a personal challenge at the start of each year, declared last January that he would try to “fix” Facebook.
“The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is well spent,” he wrote on Jan. 4.
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On Friday, Zuckerberg said he’s “proud of the progress” Facebook has made toward that goal, but “addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge.”
Zuckerberg did not touch on any of the major scandals that rocked the company this year, such as a security breach that exposed 50-million users’ accounts in September, damning new details that emerged in the Cambridge Analytica election-hacking scandal or the revelation that Facebook hired a PR firm to dig up dirt on billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
He also didn’t mention the grillings he and other Facebook executives faced this year at the hands of American and European lawmakers, or the revelation that Facebook shared users’ data and instant messages with other tech giants.
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“We’ve made a lot of improvements and changes this year,” Zuckerberg wrote on Friday.
He specifically hailed improvements to the News Feed feature, compliance with tighter European privacy laws and a crackdown on viral video views on the platform.
Zuckerberg said the company has “fundamentally altered” its structure to focus on preventing harm, by introducing new artificial intelligence systems and safeguards.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll catch every bad actor or piece of bad content, or that people won’t find examples of past mistakes before we improved our systems,” he wrote in the post. “For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never fully be solved.”
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Facebook’s stock price has dropped by approximately US$50 on the NASDAQ this year, from $181.42 on Jan. 2 to $133.60 on Dec. 29. It peaked at $217.50 on July 24, just before a sharp plunge wiped out approximately $19 billion of Zuckerberg’s net worth.
“I’ve learned a lot from focusing on these issues and we still have a lot of work ahead,” Zuckerberg wrote on Friday. “I’m committed to continuing to make progress on these important issues as we enter the new year.”
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