Appearing before the Senate, Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook is responsible for content posted on their platform.
Senator John Cornyn asked Mark Zuckerberg during his hearing before the Senate if Facebook’s old motto of “Move Fast and Break Things!” may have led to some of the mistakes that the company is now facing. Zuckerberg replied; “Senator, I do think that we made mistakes because of that but the broadest mistakes that we made here are not taking a broad enough view of our responsibility,” he continued; “The move fast cultural value is more tactical around whether engineers can shift things and different ways we operate but I think the big mistake that we made looking back on this is viewing our responsibility as just building tools rather than viewing our whole responsibility as making sure those tools are used for good.”
Senator Cornyn replied; “I appreciate that, because previously or in the past we’ve been told that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are neutral platforms and the people who own and run those for profit — and I’m not criticising doing something for profit in this country — but they bore no responsibility for the content. Do you agree now that Facebook and other social media platforms are not neutral platforms but bear some responsibility for the content?”
“I agree that we’re responsible for the content,” stated Zuckerberg.
“And I think that one of the big societal questions that we’re going to need to answer,” he continued, “is the current framework that we have, is based on this reactive model that assumes that there weren’t AI tools that could proactively tell whether something was terrorist content or something bad so it naturally relied on requiring people to flag for the company and for the company to take reasonable action.”
Zuckerberg continued to say; “In the future, we’re going to have tools that are going to be able to identify more types of bad content and I think there are moral and legal obligation questions that I think we’ll have to wrestle with a society when we want companies to proactively take action on those type of things.”
So it seems that according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is responsible for the content posted on it, a claim that the company has denied in the past when many have called for the firm to be treated as a media company rather than a tech firm. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas called for the company to be treated as a media firm in 2016 saying; “In my view they should be treated as media even if they do not correspond to the media concept of television or radio.”