Zuckerberg apologizes if Facebook has split instead of joining: I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better ”what he posted on Facebook
For the ways in which my work was used to divide people instead of getting together, asking questions and working to do better " what Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook on the evening of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, MarkZuckerberg apologizes …
Zuckerberg apologizes for fake news and influence over the elections
Zuckerberg recently faced strong criticism from liberals that Facebook did not block the false Russian news and interference in the 2016 US elections, while Facebook was simultaneously called "anti-Trump" by the US president himself. Already last February, the CEO of Facebook had publicly reflected on topics such as foreign affairs, US politics, the value of high quality journalism.
The request for forgiveness was met with different reactions, including that of some who recalled that Zuckerberg had declared himself an atheist until the end of 2016, when instead he confirmed the Jewish faith to which he was educated.
"Oh the former atheist Mark Zuckerberg, suddenly becomes so religious now that he is aiming for the presidency of the world. To be clear: there is no problem in being an atheist, the problem is to use religion as a political tool " wrote on Twitter Marco Gomes, co-founder of Boo Box, Brazilian advertising agency.
"Forgiveness denied you by both, by God and by humanity, since you and Sheryl knew what was happening, you allowed it and then lied about both its existence and its impact ", Commented on a tweet Matt Ocko, partner of Data Collective, venture capital fund.
Forgiveness is denied by both. God and humanity, since you & Sheryl knew what was happening, condoned it, & then lied about both its existence and impact https://t.co/cjumbfvgAE
Matthew Ocko (@mattocko) 1 October 2017
Journalists from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal cautiously shared Zuckerberg's post, without commenting.
Before the excuses of Zuckerberg the progress already made by Facebook
Facebook has shown significant progress in preventing interference in the German and French elections, closing doubtful accounts and working closely with electoral commissions. As, moreover, that more information emerges on the extent of the influence exerted by the Russians in the US presidential race, Zuckerberg found himself again in the spotlight and criticized.
The company has been warned several times about abuses and inadequate responses, but has rejected the issues defining isolated cases or system bugs. In 2015, Russian trolls attacked Ukrainian protesters with false reports of inappropriate content, causing their accounts to be deactivated. Now we continue to discover that the Russians publish false news and buy announcements to foster anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States, discourage democratic voters and further divide the country.
Facebook's accusation of being "anti-Trump"
Things got worse when Zuckerberg responded to Trump's tweet "Facebook has always been anti-Trump" saying "Trump says Facebook against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are irritated by ideas and content that they don't like. what happens when you run a platform for all ideas.
Zuckerberg's response ends up mocking critical people as if they were closed-minded and narrow-minded and he washes his hands of Facebook's problems, making them appear inevitable, while highlighting Facebook's positive impact on the elections. Somehow the post involuntarily approached Trump's tactic of getting bullied at his opponents in the hope of getting a softer treatment.
Saying that the criticisms come from both sides, with Facebook in the middle, instead of directly blaming the President's statement, Zuckerberg has placed Facebook in a weak situation. If his internal investigation into electoral interference indicates that the Russians have helped Trump, the US president can simply dismiss the accusations by attributing them to the "anti-Trump" sentiment he had already reported.
The moment of forgiveness, the moment of apology
It seems that Zuckerberg is legitimately and genuinely concerned about the potential negative impact his platform has had in the last year, but the inconsistent statement with his past explanations. Instrumentalizing Jewish recurrence was not the best way. A more coherent approach like "I admit we were caught with the low guard, we made mistakes about false news and electoral interference, we didn't work as a secure platform for all ideas, and here's what we're doing to solve it"Would probably have been better harvested. Equating legitimate concerns about electoral interference with Trump's fury, while indicating Facebook's good intentions by placing it in the middle, is mistakenly minimizing the complaints and empowering Trump's propaganda.
It was plausibly the idealistic perspective of the Facebook leader that led him to the naive approach to the potential abuse of the social network, rather than voluntary ignorance or greed, but the way to go not through false neutrality or forgiveness, but the explicit admission of malfunctions and a demonstrable change.
The technological industry is no longer just the technological industry, and apps are not just apps: these products with greater reach and impact than any medium of communication in history must be accompanied by more skepticism and cynicism. The worst scenarios will come true and you need to be prepared rather than unprepared. Giving everyone a double-edged sword and, although it may be a strength to do good, it also requires more protection.