“We recognize that we have a responsibility to prevent bad actors from interfering or weakening these conversations through misinformation, attempted voter suppression, or speech that is hateful or incites violence,” says the Zuckerberg statement. “I understand the concerns that people have in these areas, and we are working to address them. As we move forward, for example, we have dramatically improved our ability to proactively search for and remove harmful content and avoid electoral interference, I recognize that we have more to do. “
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the statement.
Civil rights activists and many Democrats have criticized Facebook for its policy of refusing to verify or remove misleading posts or advertisements from political candidates, a position they say benefits President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and ignores a long history of suppression efforts. of voters in the US also criticized Facebook for leaving a post earlier this year in which Trump appeared to threaten to shoot people involved in social justice protests.
Zuckerberg’s latest comment also comes as a result of news about a video that went viral on Facebook featuring incorrect and dangerous claims about the new coronavirus. He racked up millions of visits before Facebook took him down.
On the other hand, disinformation is not the stated purpose of Wednesday’s hearing. Representative David Cicilline (DR.I.), chair of the antitrust subcommittee, convened the panel to discuss competition between tech giants as the industry has consolidated.
Zuckerberg’s written comments include an implicit blow to Democrats’ concerns about the rise of tech giants.
“As I understand our laws, companies are not bad just because they are big,” Zuckerberg’s comments say, echoing a previous comment by panel Republicans. “Many large companies that do not compete cease to exist. That is why we are focused on building and updating our products to provide people with the best possible experiences. “
Zuckerberg’s opening remarks also make reference to how the rise of Chinese tech companies has shaped the industry.
“Although people around the world use our products, Facebook is a proudly American company,” the comments say. “We believe in the values (democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression) on which the American economy was built. Many other technology companies share these values, but there is no guarantee that our values will succeed.
“For example, China is building their own version of the Internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries,” he added. “As Congress and other stakeholders consider how antitrust laws support competition in the United States, I believe it is important to uphold the core values of openness and fairness that have made the digital economy of the United States a force for empowerment. and opportunity here and around the world. “