Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday rejected the idea of breaking up the social media giant as off-target, saying it could hamper the fight against deceit and harmful online content.
The Facebook co-founder’s defense of the leading social network came as it reported it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that five percent of active accounts are likely fakes.
Facebook and its family of apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp face competition around the world from rivals such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and others in a “competitive and dynamic environment,” Zuckerberg said.
The company does not rule the digital advertising market, which is topped by Google, he noted.
“I think arguments that we are in some sort of dominant position there might be a little stretched,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call about its latest content policy enforcement report.
“The question is, what problems are you trying to solve?”
He argued that breaking up the company might mean fewer resources to curb harmful online content and election interference and improve privacy and the portability of personal data.
“Those are the most important social issues right now, and I don’t think breaking up the company is going to address those,” Zuckerberg said.
“As a matter of fact, I think it is going to make it harder.”
Facebook’s success has enabled it to invest heavily in artificial intelligence and workers to watch for rule-breaking content and activity at the social network, according to Zuckerberg.
“The degree to which the success of this company has allowed us to fund these efforts for safety is massive,” Zuckerberg said.
“We are able to do things that are not possible for other folks to do.”
Facebook announced separately it is creating an independent board to act as a final court of appeals or sorts for disputes about content taken down at the social network.
Decisions of the board will be binding, with Facebook promising to abide by outcomes.
Zuckerberg referred to the independent advisory board and said he cared deeply about people’s freedom of expression when asked about the White House setting up a website to collect input from people who feel they have been unfairly censored on social media.
– Spammer onslaught –
Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.
“The amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen said.
Facebook disabled most of the accounts as automated imposters were trying to establish them or shortly after they were made, according to Rosen.
The bulk of the fake accounts were the work spammers using automated systems, and with an apparent end-goal of making money, Facebook executives said.
The leading social network, meanwhile, estimated that five percent of its 2.4 billion monthly active users were fake accounts yet to be uncovered.
The California-based company also said it has made progress in battling hate speech, automatically detecting 65 percent of the content removed instead of needing to wait for users to report it.
Facebook took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen.
The social network also said that it has booted more than 200 white supremacist organizations.
Facebook reported progress in efforts to prevent the social network from being used for illegal sales of drugs or guns.
It “took action” in the quarter against 900,000 pieces of content related to drug sales, of which some 83 percent was detected by software.
‘There is no managing Donald Trump’: White House Republicans blasted for their myth of ‘adults in the room’
Republicans who thought they could manage Donald Trump were taken down in The New Yorker on Tuesday.
The Susan Glasser article was titled, "The spectacular failure of the Trump wranglers."
"On Tuesday, nearly seven hours into the marathon third day of public impeachment hearings, Kurt Volker tried to explain to the House Intelligence Committee what it was like to carry out the nearly impossible task of wrangling U.S. policy toward Ukraine during the Presidency of Donald Trump," Glasser wrote. "Volker, a veteran Republican diplomat who had been serving, since 2017, as Trump’s Special Representative to Ukraine, said that he realized last spring that he had a 'problem,' and that it was Trump himself.
BUSTED: Trump’s White House sent out anti-Vindman talking points — trashing their own staffer
President Donald Trump's war on his own employees escalated on Tuesday when the White House spread talking points designed to result in a coordinated attack on a decorated active-duty Army officer.
"The Trump White House has taken the extraordinary step of distributing talking points to allies of the president trashing one of its employees," The Daily Beast reported after obtaining a copy of the document.
"On Tuesday morning, White House aide Julia Hahn emailed Trump surrogates under the subject line, “Vindman’s Complaints Are Nothing More Than Policy Disagreements,” according to messages reviewed by The Daily Beast. Hahn, a Steve Bannon protege and one of his former allies in the White House, works on outreach and communications involving pro-Trump talking heads and other players in conservative media," The Beast reported.
Don Lemon notes the GOP panic after their own witnesses gave testimony harming Trump: ‘Worried much?’
CNN anchor Don Lemon explained how witnesses called by Republicans in the impeachment inquiry destoryed the defenses employed by President Donald Trump and his allies.
"Now, let's just be honest, the shakedown -- that's exactly what it is -- the shakedown is exposed, people," Lemon said.
"And the evidence comes from the Republican's own witnesses," he noted. "The former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker -- who resigned just one day after the release of the whistleblower's report -- telling the president's defenders exactly what they did not want to hear."
"They called him apparently expecting him to say what he said in his closed-door testimony, that he saw no evidence of a quid pro quo, or let's call it for what it is again -- a shakedown," he continued. "Well, now he says he was wrong."