Posted by: peninsular | October 28, 2019

A Man and a Mission

According to its investor relations page, “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” But how closely is the company’s policies aligned with this noble-sounding intention? In the same session in which he testified before Congress about Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, Mark Zuckerberg was grilled about the internet giant’s recent policy against banning political ads containing unverifiable information (because, ostensibly, it “limits speech”) and potential dissemination of political misinformation ahead of the 2020 election.

Clearly, many members of Congress don’t believe Facebook gives “people the power,” or that it brings “the world closer together.” Recently, the platform release a policy that stated it would not vet information in political ads, a stunning policy stance considering misinformation campaigns waged through Facebook may have been responsible for the current intractable political climate in which people are more divided than ever. In trying to assure members of Congress that Facebook needed to rebuild trust with its users, Zuckerberg said: “I get that I’m not the ideal messenger for this right now.”

Perhaps he is not the ideal messanger because he’s veered off message. At least 250 Facebook employees agreed this week when an open letter to Zuckerberg was posted on the organization’s internal Facbook page. The employees criticized Facebook’s official policy against vetting political ads, saying it  doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.” It almost seems as if rank-and-file employees are doing the mission-driven communication Mark Zuckerberg should be doing. Perhaps employees-as-brand-ambassadors will be the ones to help the platform stay on-mission.

Sources:

“Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Accused of Lying, Withstands a Washington ‘Beating,’” The New York Times, 23-Oct-2019 [Online]. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/23/technology/facebook-zuckerberg-libra-congress.html?module=inline. [Accessed: 28-Oct-2019]

“Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads,” The New York Times, 28-Oct-2019 [Online]. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/technology/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-political-ads.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage. [Accessed: 28-Oct-2019]


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