Zuckerberg dismisses Trump’s Facebook bias claims

28 Sep 2017

Mark Zuckerberg has responded to Trump’s latest accusation. Image: catwalker/Shutterstock

Mark Zuckerberg hits back after President Trump targets Facebook in tweet.

The 45th president of the US, Donald Trump, yesterday tweeted that Facebook “was always anti-Trump”, while also accusing The New York Times and The Washington Post of some form of collusion.

Trump’s tweet is likely a result of Facebook’s decision to hand over data pertaining to thousands of Russia-backed propaganda advertisements to congressional officials investigating the possibility of Kremlin-backed interference in 2016’s presidential election.

In response to Trump’s accusatory missive, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a statement that expressed some frustration at how people are interpreting the site’s role in the election that saw Trump become president in November 2016.

Zuckerberg voices frustration

Zuckerberg said: “I want to respond to President Trump’s tweet this morning claiming Facebook has always been against him.

“Every day, I work to bring people together and build a community for everyone. We hope to give all people a voice and create a platform for all ideas.

“Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.”

Zuckerberg then went on to emphasise ways in which he thinks Facebook contributed positively to the democratic process, from running ‘get out the vote’ drivers, to enabling interactions “that may have never happened offline. Every topic was discussed, not just what the media covered.”

Electoral interference not so crazy after all?

He also expressed regret at his post-election comment dismissing Facebook misinformation as a contributing factor in the election’s outcome.

“Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact – from giving people a voice, to enabling candidates to communicate directly, to helping millions of people vote – played a far bigger role in this election.”

Zuckerberg’s dismissal of the role of his platform in the democratic process has haunted him for months, particularly since new findings have come to light regarding the impact and industrialisation of fake-content creation on Facebook.

From the statement, it still seems that he is focusing on Facebook’s top-secret internal data – which apparently proves that fake news didn’t have a tangible impact – and is still not quite willing to face the problem of electoral interference head-on.

Mark Zuckerberg has responded to Trump’s latest accusation. Image: catwalker/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects