Yesterday saw the release of the “Facebook Papers,” a collection of documentation amassed by both whistleblowers and the news media detailing both Facebook’s internal policies and, more worryingly, its lack of action against hate speech and problematic content on its platform. The news has sparked major unrest against Facebook, which proved unfortunate for them, as that same day they reported their most recent earnings.
During the quarterly earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the documentation as a coordinated smear effort against the platform. “Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that we are seeing a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company,” Zuckerberg said. “The reality is that we have an open culture that encourages discussion and research on our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us.”
When asked about Facebook’s efforts in identifying and removing problematic content, Zuckerberg noted that their transparency reports have managed to identify “what percentage of the content that we act on is our AI … finding rather than people having to report it.” He added that “in most of these categories … 90-plus-percent of the content that we act on, we’re identifying largely through the AI system.”
Thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents provided to Congress by a former employee depict an internally conflicted company where data on the harms it causes is abundant, but solutions are halting at best. #TheFacebookPapers https://t.co/221onLuKi9
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 26, 2021
Zuckerberg did concede, however, that identifying problematic content across language and cultural barriers has proven more difficult. “Some of the categories, like hate speech, have been harder,” he said, because “we’re operating in around 150 languages around the world … there’s a lot of cultural nuance in this.”
Zuckerberg ended the call by saying “I know there is a lot of scrutiny of our efforts, and I guess I just want to say to the team and the people who work on this that I’m really proud of the progress that they make.”