Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has opened up in a New York Times Magazine cover story to acknowledge the dangers of the social media giant he helped create.
The feature by technology columnist Farhad Manjoo titled “Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?” calls Facebook the “most powerful tool for connection in human history” and asks if the social media giant is “capable of adapting to the world it created?”
“If you look at the history of Facebook, when we started off, there really wasn’t news as part of it,” Zuckerberg told Manjoo. He explained that “2016 was an interesting year” because the company became a global political and cultural force during the presidential election.
Zuckerberg went on to say that 2016 “set off a number of conversations that we’re still in the middle of,” because nearly two billion people use Facebook every month.
“[Facebook] has become the largest and most influential entity in the news business, commanding an audience greater than that of any American or European television news network, any newspaper or magazine in the Western world and any online news outlet,” Manjoo wrote. “It is also the most powerful mobilizing force in politics, and it is fast replacing television as the most consequential entertainment medium.”
The cover story details Facebook’s issues with fake news, noting that it is only part of a larger issue for the tech giant.
“With its huge reach, Facebook has begun to act as the great disseminator of the larger cloud of misinformation and half-truths swirling about the rest of media. It sucks up lies from cable news and Twitter, then precisely targets each lie to the partisan bubble most receptive to it,” Manjoo wrote.
The story goes on to describe the mood in Silicon Valley after Donald Trump won the election, while examining the role Facebook’s News Feed had in the results. Zuckerberg discussed what his team is doing to figure out what users want and how to avoid misinformation and fake news.
“There’s a lot more to do here than what we’ve done. And I think we’re starting to realize this now as well,” Zuckerberg told the magazine.