On Tuesday morning, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, held a “sword-and-raise” video conference with 25,000 employees. The meeting was aimed primarily at resolving the differences that have existed between Facebook and the public over the past week over how to deal with President Donald Trump’s controversial Facebook posts.
Background: In recent days, Facebook employees have publicly expressed their displeasure with Zuckerberg to unprecedented proportions. They criticized Zuckerberg for not deleting or reviewing Trump’s recent post. In his post, Mr. Trump referred to the nation’s ongoing protests against racial discrimination and police brutality, saying, “If you’re robbing, you’re going to shoot.” Previously, the president had also posted false information about postal voting. In response to these posts, the company also decided not to do fact-checking. Employees are equally dissatisfied.
During Tuesday’s nearly hour-and-a-half meeting, Zuckerberg first explained his reasons and logic for keeping the posts. For example, he said, he doesn’t think the analogy that Trump cites as civil-rights-era apartheid police is “sending a code (“blowing a dog whistle” to civil supporters) and inciting them to defend justice with violence.” In a question-and-answer session that followed, employees pressed Zuckerberg to ask how he came to that conclusion and whether the company’s executives were diverse enough. At a critical juncture in American history, this conversation has allowed us to understand the views of the most influential leader of the day on issues such as democracy, speech and racial equality, in the face of so many sharp criticisms from employees.
Here’s the full text version of the video conference:
What was your initial decision-making process about how to handle Trump’s controversial posts?
Zuckerberg: The first thing I want to say is that this is not a non-black-white decision, even though I believe that the basic principles of the platform and our policies and the evidence do play an important role in making this decision.
However, this is not an easy decision. However, I’ll quickly review the decision-making process because I know a lot of people have questions about it. Then I’ll explain some of the factors we weigh in the decision-making process. I’ll sort it out as soon as possible, because I actually said it a little bit on Friday, and others have answered it, and I’ve written about it.
So, at first, President Trump posted early Friday morning, when I was still asleep. When the policy team saw it, it started working with teams on the East Coast and London, aggregated the information, and sent it to my mailbox. When I wake up in the morning, I can see the analysis. So I can see the team’s analysis of the post and the recommendations given according to the policy. Then, when I woke up around 7:30 a.m., I did see the email. The letter lists three types of interpretations that the post could make and the consequences.
The first is that this is a discussion about the use of force by states, and we do not prohibit such discussions. In many cases, states have the right to use force in law, and the discussion of this and even the discussion of the threat is within the limits of our policy. And, according to the team, this is the most likely and most reasonable interpretation.
The second category is predictions of future violence. If someone says, “If it happens, it happens,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is trying to encourage or call for something to happen. Of course, this is also within the limits of our terms of service. Then, the team believes, this is the second possible way to interpret it.
Finally, there is the third type of interpretation, namely incitement to violence, that is, a direct call for violence. Of course, you also know that if we characterize it as incitement to violence, we will not hesitate to delete the post. And I want to be clear that we have a zero-tolerance policy on content that incites violence, without any journalistic value or with no exceptions to political figures. We’ll explain this in detail in a moment. But there’s a very important nuance here, because if someone calls for violence, then if someone calls for violence, then whether it’s the right thing to do – keep the content, but mark it – remains to be seen.
In fact, if someone does try to incite violence, I think, in general, people would want to delete the post. Moreover, there are some clear precedents for our policy on incitement to violence when people must call for violence or target specific individuals. Globally, there are many examples of government officials. In these examples, we have all done the deletion of posts. For example, some lawmakers have called on the police to step in and remove and kill protesters in order to restore social order. This is clearly inciting and calling for violence. We did the deletion of the post. There are similar examples in India. For example, someone said, “If the police don’t care, our supporters will step in and clean up the streets.” “It’s encouraging supporters to act directly, and we’ve done the delete process.” Therefore, we have a precedent in this respect.
By the way, we’ve deleted Trump’s posts before. Personally, I think a lot of people deliberately ignore this. But at the beginning of the year, Trump — or his campaign — ran a lot of ads, and then we thought there was an error message, so we deleted it. So, obviously, we don’t allow anything he wants to say, and we don’t allow government officials or members of Congress to say whatever he wants. We also have rules on how to characterize speech that incites violence. We took into account various factors and concluded that the rules did not fully apply to this post.
Why do you think Trump’s remarks about protesters as “daring to shoot” are not interpreted as a history of “blowing a dog whistle on civil violence”?
Zuckerberg: So for the rest of the day, After a basic understanding of the situation, I’ve been talking to different people, getting to know different people, including bringing together different people within the company, and i’ve considered a lot of different opinions in the initial policy analysis. We’ll talk more about this later.
However, in this discussion, even in the initial assessment, we do not believe that the post should be deleted. I spent a lot of time trying to answer these questions: “What is the most likely debate about why this is a content that incites violence?” “So we looked at the history of “daring to rob, dare to shoot”, and then we find that this is undoubtedly a disturbing historical rhetoric and quote, whether or not involving inciting supporters to commit acts of violence. Then, after reading all the content and communicating with different people, the quote clearly involved radical policing – and even excessive policing – but no past history could be interpreted as sending a swagon (“blowing a whistle” to civilian supporters) and inciting them to defend justice with violence. But I did spend a lot of time discussing all the different arguments, such as why this might cross the line, and then I thought deeply and found that there was a lot of risk on the issue. And I know that if we decide to keep the post, a lot of people will be very disappointed.
But after some ideological struggle, I still can’t make the decision to delete the post. I can’t do that, even if I personally hate the content, even if I know a lot of employees will object to it. I think the principles on our platform, our guidelines for managing the platform, our policies, etc. all show that the right thing we should take is to keep the posts.
Policy on adjusting Facebook
Zuckerberg: Now that this is the case, are these policies correct? How will we deal with this situation in the future? Also, one of the things I found was that the first reaction of many others was,”Why do you have to be black or white?” “Isn’t it?” Why do I have to choose between “delete and keep posts”? In fact, I don’t think anyone deleted the post. Twitter did not delete the post. I don’t think most people think they need to delete posts.
About discussing your decision with Trump.
Zuckerberg: Sorry, in this decision-making process, there’s a very important point to be clear about, and that’s a lot of gossip and media reports that we’re in touch with the White House. Then I want to clarify what happened. The truth is, early that morning, our policy team contacted the White House to make sure the White House understood our policies and tell them that we were concerned about this post and whether it violated our policy. What happened next was that they took it very seriously. Then later that day, after we almost decided what to do with it, the president called me. I just took the opportunity to make sure he understood what I thought about it. I don’t think the content of this post is divisive, inflammatory and of any benefit. But I’d like to make sure that the details of the decision-making process are honest and sincere, and I’m happy to explain it again.
What will you do in the future?
Zuckerberg: Well, let me say what I think we should do in the future. I know there is a lot of discussion about this, so don’t take what I’m saying as the end result. I just want to take this opportunity to share my views on how our systems and processes can be improved and where they can be further improved.
First of all, I would like to say something that I think can be improved. First, it is particularly about this decision. Second, how do we improve overall decision-making. Third, there is a positive focus on what we can do about racial equality and the voice of citizens. Then I’ll talk about policy-related strategic things.
About Facebook’s policy on the use of force by states
Zuckerberg: I know there’s a really pressing issue in our policy, and that’s what I just mentioned, the discussion of the use of force by states is within the scope of our policy. I know, there are many good reasons for that. But what we are seeing now is that the excessive use of force, especially by the police, accounts for a large part of the problem. What I want to make sure is that we don’t want to create an environment where our policy allows discussion to involve the police in law enforcement action, and on the other hand, it prohibits people from discussing the opposite side of the story.
I also hope that we can strike a balance between the use of force in the states, because it is clear that not all forces used by the states are legal. I think we need to make sure that there are policies relevant to this, especially for a period of time when civil unrest is likely to last for a long time, so that we can look forward and develop a complete policy that reflects the current state of the country.
What about Facebook’s voter suppression policies that are not ready to explain the new challenges the election poses to the election?
Zuckerberg: It’s another policy issue, and the fact that we’re in a different position than we were in the months before the outbreak. Since the outbreak, murders and protests have taken place, everything has changed. And this issue, unlike violence, involves another controversial post about voting and elections.
I think right now, it’s clear that we’re still in the outbreak, and the general election in November is bound to be a little different from what it was in previous years. But we’ve done a lot of work since 2016 on election integrity and so on, and we’ve done a better job.
In the face of this election, I think we are doing a good job of preparation. But the outbreak has also changed a lot. This means that there will be a lot of new changes in the way people vote, and there will be a lot of fear and uncertainty. But what I hope is that our voter suppression policies are in line with new developments in the real world, so that we can ensure that our policies cover all the things that could harm or suppress voting during this extraordinary period. So this is the second aspect.
Facebook can be tagged “non-two-choice one” on controversial posts posted by global leaders such as Trump
Zuckerberg: The third thing we’re talking about is exploring the possibility of labeling content as “non-two-choice one.” I’ve analyzed why this is not the right thing to do for me. But I know there’s a lot of discussion within the company. I know a lot of smart guys are thinking about this, that’s whether we can try new ideas that we’ve never tried before. For me, it’s at least a signal that I want to hear about these new ideas. I also want to have the opportunity to talk to them, to understand your ideas, to see if there are any different solutions to this in the future.
Then I would like to make it clear that I do not want to make too many commitments here, because I really think our current position is reasonable and principled. But I also know that there are a lot of smart people on their minds, and this is an area worth following up.
About improving decision-making
Zuckerberg: I’ve heard a lot of advice on improving decision-making. I think we can try to improve a lot later. The second is transparency, ensuring that the decision-making process and processes are transparent and open. It’s better to have different questions in the messages I receive, which different teams are involved, and so on. I think within the company, if most people understand our decision-making process, they should be satisfied. We are also trying to incorporate a wide variety of ideas and functions into it. And I’m always hands-on, but it’s all included in this process. I just hope that normalizing these, and then greater transparency will be more helpful.
About what you could have done better.
Zuckerberg: For example, if i could do it again, I would like to send a short email to everyone last Friday morning telling everyone that we’re looking at it and that they can learn my decision in five to six hours, because I need a lot of time to think about it, make sure I’ve considered all the reasons, read all the historical backgrounds, and receive advice from different people like outside civil rights consultants. So I believe that greater transparency can help people better understand the fairness of our decision-making process.
About hearing different opinions in the decision-making process
Zuckerberg: The next thing — broader than a decision — is that I think it’s more important to have the right structure in terms of inclusion, so that you know when the precedent is happening, whether you have the right diversity, and everyone’s involvement in setting a precedent. That way, when you need to make a decision, it’s not just about listening to different opinions on the decision, it’s about having the right opinion before we make every decision.
So that’s what I want to follow up on. We may need to make some organizational adjustments to this. Improve some of our work on inclusion and ensure that people are not only actively involved in decision-making, but also in many other things.
Once again, from a process point of view, I think we’re doing a pretty good job of process at the moment. But I also believe that there are still areas where improvements are needed and some restructuring is needed to slightly improve our inclusiveness.
Employee Question: How can employees trust your leadership on these issues?
Facebook employee: The internal PUBLICist told us that you only spoke to Trump after the news, not before Friday’s question-and-answer session. Crucially, PR posts, Mark’s posts, and so on, are saying that you will listen to us, but at the same time did not take action accordingly. What’s more, you don’t understand that this is not just about what happened last week, but about the daily lives of people of color inside and outside the company. A simple example: Shirley Sandberg says the meeting with the civil rights organization went well, while the other side said the meeting was a mess and That Facebook didn’t seem to understand the situation.
A public executive is trying to prove that Facebook’s display of billions of African-Americans killed by police on our platform is a positive thing. Legal posts by black activists were incorrectly tagged on Facebook. My question is, if you lack transparency and don’t understand the world outside your class, how do we trust Facebook’s leadership?
Responses to employees’ trust issues
Zuckerberg: Yes, I understand that. I mean, I want to emphasize three things. One is that we are trying to be as transparent as possible. We made a decision on Friday, it was a difficult process, so I spent the whole day on it. Then we made the decision to have a thorough communication, write down the specific explanations, and let the employees discuss them by Friday afternoon. So I think that while we try to act as quickly as possible, it’s a difficult decision. At the same time, we need to convey our ideas as soon as possible, and there is a tension between the two. I think we can do better. I could have understood more clearly what we were doing, or I could have made it available to you in just a few hours. But anyway, we did.
We’ve got a lot of executives trying to do Q.a. Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, did a Q.a yesterday, and it was my turn today. I am sure we will continue our discussions.
We are trying to be as transparent as possible, although I know there are still a lot of problems. In terms of the decision-making process, I think that’s one of the things we want to follow up on to ensure that the content of the policy briefing is transparent. Whose opinion does the decision come from? Who’s around when I make the decision? For things like that, we all want to be transparent to our employees.
I usually think that when we provide more transparency, there will be better results. Of course, that’s not to say there’s no room for improvement, but I think people may feel good about some of these processes, even if the results aren’t what they really want. Well…… I am sorry.
The question you’re asking me is how employees can trust their leader’s decision-making intent. I mean, on this issue, I know a lot of people will disagree with the decision itself. I think I can understand.
You know, not everyone agrees with the decision, and I’m not disappointed with that fact. I think there are different ways people do things, and they can reasonably give completely different assessments about something.
I think it’s a good thing to allow a lot of different points of view to exist. I also know that this result will not be completely one-sided, and there will be a lot of people agree ingly with this decision. Even if they don’t want to speak out loud within the company right now.
In terms of leadership’s decision-making intent, I mean, I do think it’s an important thing. You can see, as the CEOs of all companies in the United States now stand up and say, “Well, yes, black lives matter.” We stand with the black community. “I mean, I think it’s important to say these words and remind people to say these words, but I don’t think it takes any particular courage to say them, especially in the event of a major crisis.
I think what I want people to see is that before these issues get the attention of the news media, and from the day I chanted “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” we’ve been looking at these issues, and we’ve always believed that justice and opportunity are the cornerstones of the nation. In terms of racial justice, I believe that interaction with the criminal justice system is one of the areas where racism has the greatest difference impact, and that is a key issue that needs to be addressed urgently. There are many aspects to this issue.
I really think these points are valid, in fact, it’s something I’ve talked about with a lot of people inside and outside the company for a long time, and we’ve had a lot of conversations. This decision is not the first policy decision we have made around this issue. I think the overall atmosphere of our company is quite positive because it gives a voice to marginalized groups. I think we should create context for people to feel that I am not in my life. Although I am not as familiar with some of the people who live here every day, I am not new to the first time, know nothing about everything. That’s part of the view about people and how you see leadership.
And then it’s about how you see your company, the values of your company, and the overall ethical impact of your culture on employee behavior. I think there are a lot of people who want to push us to do more in different directions, and the reality is that we are a very important platform for communication.
Almost all communities are motivated by the push to work for charity as much as possible. That’s good, and they should do the same, and that makes sense. But this “push” has put us in a state where it’s hard for us to do everything anyone, any political party wants. So basically, in the end, all the teams were very upset about us on all kinds of issues. That’s why they’re more likely to promote negative things that we haven’t done than to cheer on the good things we’ve done.
I think we’ve seen a living example this week, and I’ve mentioned it a few times here, which is to say, this discussion is overwhelming, all about whether we should downgrade Trump’s blog posts. I know it’s important to the world, and I know it’s important for our people and a lot of people in the community to know who we’re on the side of, and they use it as a signal, although I don’t think it should be interpreted that way.
In fact, I think the video of the murder was posted on Facebook because our service gives people a voice, and that’s already had a huge impact. I just want to say that I hope people don’t just look at the moral impact of what we’re doing from a hurt-relief perspective. Of course, harm reduction is also an important part of what we have to do. I’m not ignoring that, we’re spending a lot of resources on this, thousands of people are working on that goal, and we’re spending billions of dollars on it every year.
But we also want to give people an unprecedented way to understand and discuss events so that painful voices can be heard. I think it’s also important, and I think that’s what I think about all these things.
Employee question: How many black and other employees of color were involved when deciding whether to take action on Trump’s blog posts slamming protesters as “thugs” and suggesting they would be “shot”?
Zuckerberg: I don’t know the exact number. But I can tell you that this is only a preliminary policy briefing. I know there are a few black employees on the team who are focused on making sure we have diversity in the process of generating ideas. Then when I bring people together, it becomes a small team because we have a productive conversation with eight or nine people.
Maxine Williams, head of global diversity at Facebook, has been there for hours and we’ve been working on it. Personally, I was very concerned about her comments and what she heard, so I called her personally to make sure she knew I had that opinion. At the same time, we received briefings from outside civil rights advisers and similar people, as well as from a number of people of color, including some people of color, via e-mail. So, I don’t know the exact number, but there may be ways to further improve the matter. But in fact, I think that if people were able to understand the process, they wouldn’t be frustrated with that part of the work.
In fact, i think the part that we can do better is that there is obviously a series of precedents and decisions that lead to this being the right thing to do in this situation. While I believe there must be black employees and people representing the interests of diverse organizations involved in the decision-making process, all of this is about emphasizing the importance of strengthening corporate diversity and making sure that this part is truly engaged in all kinds of decision-making. That way, it’s not just about getting it out when you’re dealing with a particular problem, it’s that you’ve built up the infrastructure framework. All of this includes inclusion at the appropriate level, because, as I said, giving people a voice is our top priority and principle, and for every employee. This is very important, and we attach great importance to it.
Questions about future Trump blog posts and who was involved in the decision-making process
Facebook employee: You’ve probably answered my question, but why can we only choose between binary confrontations, and there’s no middle ground between the two. So before proceeding with our discussion, I’d like to make sure that you’re already thinking about how to deal with these posts and opinions, such as tagging some posts on Facebook with violent comments.
Zuckerberg: Yes, and I need to clarify, so far I know there are a lot of thoughtful people doing this. I’m going to take some time to get this done. I’m not saying I’ve sat down and studied all the coping methods and ideas, because I haven’t had a chance to do that. Now, what I want to say is that a lot of people are paying attention to this issue, and I think that’s a reasonable question. A lot of smart people are watching it. So, I want to learn from them, their ideas and ideas are worth my in-depth thinking.
Facebook employee: That’s great. So my next question is about how you make the decision, and it’s about the previous question, and I still think you’re a little vague about who was involved in the decision and whether you were the person who made the decision in the end. So I’d love to ask you exactly which executives were involved in these meetings, which teams were in the small circle, which teams were involved in the decision-making, who they represented, and where they voted on the issue, because I really wanted to know who was involved in the event. As you said, increased transparency is good for the decision-making process, so I think employees will be happy to hear that.
Zuckerberg: Yes, of course. Well, I think these people are basically the people you want, and I’ll make sure I don’t get anyone wrong. If I miss someone, I’ll follow up. Here’s what you’re looking for: Shirley Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, Marcosin, and Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s senior vice president. Among those on employee-sensitive issues is Laurie, and on some of the issues that may be legally sensitive, Jennifer Newstead, Facebook’s general counsel. I’m not sure which other members I’ve missed, oh, and Monika Bickert, the head of the team that develops content strategy.
Facebook employee: Specifically I’m not sure, if I say the wrong thing, correct me. Everyone on your list is white except Maxine, right?
Zuckerberg: Yes, that’s right.
Facebook employees: There’s only one black woman in these small circles of decision-making, that’s all. And you’ve launched a great program, and I’m proud of what I do, the Integrity Team, which specializes in voter suppression, social violence, and…
Zuckerberg: I’m sorry. I’m sure Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity, is among them. I’m sorry, I think that’s all.
Facebook employee: So I joined Guy’s Q.a this morning.
Zuckerberg: Maybe he isn’t. Actually, I’m not sure he is.
Facebook employee: So I don’t think we’re sure that the vice president of integrity is involved in a decision on a problem involving voter suppression and social violence, which is not good, is it?
Zuckerberg: Well, yes, I think you should make sure you take other people’s views into account on this issue. I think I should say that his role may be more enforcement, such as setting up these systems to make sure we can execute well than weighing the decisions of the content strategy. But I mean, Guy is a very considerate person, he’s definitely someone I want to make sure listens to him in the process.
Facebook employees: OK, so in the future, as events like this escalate, will Guy or my team’s representatives be more involved in decisions that directly affect this event?
Zuckerberg: Yes, though I’d like to say that I think it’s Monica Bickert’s team that’s doing policy analysis. I’m sorry, I just missed you, I don’t know if you’re still there. But Monica Bickert’s team is primarily responsible for developing content policies that measure different entitlements, give people a voice, and avoid harm, ensuring that we can serve everyone. So that voice must be there, and then she will listen to different people, just like Shirley and others, when we discuss this issue.
So I think I can hear all the different points of view. You know, I’ll go back and say, well, we really didn’t guarantee the correctness of the process. If that’s the case, if someone asks some background or questionafter after I make a decision, I think, “Hey, I haven’t thought about it before” or, “Wow, if I had thought about it, maybe our decision would have been different.”
I definitely don’t feel that way right now, I think everyone is very strict throughout the process. I think all the arguments have been taken into account. I don’t think there’s a lot of people saying, “Wow, I really haven’t thought about it before.” “
So I think in this case, the decision-making process is pretty strict. I think we can do a better job of transparency and make sure that people have an understanding of the process in this area. But I think this part is different from the judgment that people make when they give all the information at the end.
Employee questions about Facebook’s accepted national violence rules
Facebook employee: Ok. I am very pleased to hear that we still have enough room to review and amend the provision that posts by State actors on State support for the use of force should be retained. I’m curious about what you think the limit of this rule should be and how you see global influence. For example, the police are state actors, so under the current rules, if police chiefs use their platforms, for example, you know, send teams to black communities to shoot black people. So, is this still the use of state force under our rules? Similarly, in Turkey, if Erdogan directs troops to shoot at the Kurds, is it legal to use state force? Will this be preserved?
So I’m curious, given what we’ve done in Burma, we’ve removed the generals from our platform, what do you think is the difference between these events? Finally, history shows that violence by State actors against vulnerable groups, even against soldiers or police, always leads to lynchings, as it can lead to vulnerable groups that everyone can use violence against. From the Holocaust, Erdogan, to the genocide in Burma. So, my second question is whether you think that the danger to vulnerable groups is magnified and that the rules should be reviewed.
Zuckerberg: Yes, these are good questions. So I think we need to think about it. I have to be careful not to (say the wrong thing). I think this is an area that we need to think carefully about, especially given that many of our current concerns revolve around excessive policing. It makes me think that this is an area we might need, and I think there are two reasons why we need to think about where we are.
The first is the fear of excessive police law enforcement. Second, our policies are somewhat different in countries, such as the countries you mentioned, which we believe are either at risk or in conflict.
If we enter a period of long-term civil strife, we need to have different policies. We have precedents for this, for example, that companies have removed misinformation about COVID-19 because it represents a public health emergency, and over-enforcement can also be considered an emergency.
So more content is classified as harmful and we may want to delete that information. I think there may be something similar here, and that’s an analogy we should consider.
But given the current situation, I am uneasy about Friday’s change of policy. One reason is that the situation is unstable and the instability in the United States continues and escalates. Second, these policies must be developed.
You have referred to some examples of many countries in the world where their cultural and historical backgrounds are so different. You want to get perspective from many different groups and international organizations and all of this, but we can’t do that for the time being, and we can’t put things that have a negative impact greater than a positive one in the right place.
Therefore, the way we deal with this issue is to try to update our policies strictly and consistently. When things go wrong, we try to implement them in our frameworks and infrastructure, constantly re-evaluating and enhancing what we have.
So, I think it’s a long idea, and I don’t know when it’s really going to happen, but that’s why I think it needs to be reconsidered. How can we change at this point? I think we are entering a new phase with the United States.
I’m sorry, let me be clear. I think that potential, ongoing conflict will become a new reality, and unfortunately I don’t think the overuse of police force is a new reality. That’s what our policy should do, and I want to make sure we can have another kind of thinking.
Facebook employee: Who is eligible for the California ballot? It was the catalyst for controversy over Trump’s post. I will try to be as simple as possible, but because I have to quote some policies, I will extend them a little longer. The policy clearly states who can vote, whether it should be counted, what information and materials should be submitted at the time of the vote, and policies on these issues that do not allow for lying. In addition, we do not allow distortion of voting methods or voter registration methods.
‘The governor of California sends ballots to millions of people, no matter where they live in California, no matter who they are, no matter how they get there,’ Mr. Trump said in a Facebook post (I don’t know if he’s posting it on Twitter). In my opinion, such a description is a clear distortion of the voting method and a deliberate misinterpretation of who can vote, because it implies that anyone in California can vote, regardless of voter registration status.
If I had a wait-and-see attitude toward voter registration, I might not have bothered to register, after all, Trump claims that anyone can get a vote. As a result, voter registration will be suppressed.
My question is this: Why is the smartest man in the world trying to control or distort our policies, unwilling to offend Trump, and trying to improve social issues, is that the right thing to do?
Zuckerberg: I’ll take a moment to answer your policy questions. In my opinion, the postal ballot is controversial, and it is so important, and that’s the real problem that we need to pay attention to; If you take three months back, look back at the performance of different people over the past few years, look at the fairness of the election, do you think it’s necessary to debate the postal ballots? I do not think there is any need for debate because although different people will interfere in the election, mailing ballot papers is not the point.
This is a pandemic, and this is an unprecedented new reality, so we have to think about it on the basis of reality. How do I vote? People are afraid that if they go to the polling place they may be infected, they are very worried. Therefore, we should explain the policy of voter suppression. There are two things That I pay special attention to, and there may be others.
The first point you’ve already mentioned. Also, what kind of postal ballot policy should be adopted in different states? There is much debate about policy. As things stand, different state policies are different, everyone can have absentee ballots, but how governors send or distribute them, how they operate in different places, and the laws of the states that revolve around these issues are different, and it’s time to pay more attention to policy debates.
You can participate in the argument. If the president or someone else accuses the governor of doing something wrong (politicians always accuse the other side of doing something wrong), we should try not to talk about legislation, such as whether what he says is true, that we shouldn’t judge the law, and that we shouldn’t arbitrarily decide whether what the governor is doing is illegal.
If what we say gives voters the impression that mailing ballots is fraud, that they should not vote, that we don’t need to register, that’s what we need to care about and worry about, and that’s what you’re saying.
Mailing ballots and elections is important, and it would be better if there were clear guidelines, such as what was the policy debate, where the postal ballots were appropriate, and whether they were overthed. When someone says, “No, now you’re not talking to the governor of California, you’re not arguing about policy; you’re talking to individuals, what you’re doing can confuse people.” “It’s just going to cross the line.”
How do you interpret this sentence? As things stand, it cannot be seen as trying to influence individual decisions, it is not encouraging people to register or not to vote. It is more biased towards policy decisions, that is, how to mail ballots, which I think is something we should consider.
I also have some concerns about voter suppression, after all, as we get closer to the election, some people may just be concerned about health, and some people are encouraging people of certain kinds or certain areas not to go to the polls, and we can’t tell the difference between these groups.
This is a very difficult issue, and it is really difficult to distinguish between the two situations at the policy level. I’m worried about that. Different groups in different regions may argue, for example, they may say, “Hey, if you come here to vote you may be at great health risk.” “The conversation doesn’t explicitly encourage or discourage users from doing something, it’s just that you’re talking about the fear of confusion, and that’s what’s going to fuel it.”
In short, we believe that re-examining and thinking deeply about policies in a particular place is the most important thing. Voter centers are also important, we should build some voter centers, we are studying, it’s a bit like a new crown center, there’s authoritative information, no matter what you say, there’s a place where everyone can trust, where you can find really accurate information, where you know how to register, know if you’re successful, and know what you can do. In short, we want citizens to be as involved as possible.
Facebook employee: Hello, Mark, thank you for everything you’ve done. I find our office space a bit chaotic. Some employees stand with you, stand with Sandberg, stand with M-team, you have to make tough decisions, the employees support these decisions, colleagues are worried, we want colleagues to understand that we are not indifferent to their concerns, how do employees express this?
Zuckerberg: That’s a good question. At this moment, we should take a little thought of promoting racial equality. I also hope that we have done the right thing in terms of expression and balance of rights and interests, and I hope that they will feel that this is a safe place. They can express their views, and everyone’s voice is valuable and incalculable in the long run.
As time goes on, we’ll add more and more policies and limit them more and more strictly. Although every policy is well thought out, and we have clearly described the harm, I still think that expression and voice are necessary, because when everyone says it’s good, no one asks for it to be removed. When something is controversial, intuition will tell you, “Let’s be more restrictive.” “Then the policy is more strict, and ultimately everyone benefits.” Thank you, thank you for talking about this.
Facebook employee: Hello, Mark, this is the last question. In conversation you say don’t hurt, when it comes to free speech, they intersect with the polarization of the platform. Specifically, freedom of speech is a goal, polarization brings concern, there is a conflict between the two, what do you see from it, what do you think about it?
Zuckerberg: Thank you for asking this question. Give everyone a channel to speak out, which is a core part of our mission. Our mission consists of three main parts. Let the individual speak out, let the individual build the community, empower them to bring a group of people together, in the daily life of the things of concern to unite, so that the world is closer. In short, our mission is to build communities and bring the world closer together.
Bringing the world closer together, this is part three, and it’s about reducing the polarization. The world cannot be closer if people are highly divided and opposed to each other. This is something we care about, and we work for that goal. We’re working on it, that’s the last question, so I’ll talk more.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that many analysts had come up with research reports that could exacerbate polarization and that we had done nothing about the issue. To be honest, I disagree with that statement. We’ve done a lot to solve the polarization problem, and I’ve given reporters a lot of examples, such as adjusting the newsfeed sort, which encourages polarization more than user connections, and adjusting the sorting to make the news on display more credible and reduce the popularity of some news. In addition, we make adjustments to group recommendations to ensure that we do not recommend marginal and conspiratorial content to users. If we don’t violate our policies, you can look for these groups, but we won’t encourage them to expand.
I can also give more examples to prove that we have been working hard. We are very concerned about this issue and will continue to study it. Of course, it’s not that individual researchers or individual engineers come up with an idea or a question, or come up with a plan to alleviate the problem, we have to agree with them, think it’s the right thing to do, we should do it. Some schemes are more effective than others, but with side effects. We must consider priorities. In any case, this question is very important.
Recently we have seen some studies, And I think it is necessary to introduce them briefly. First, the report mentions a point that is that there are many different aspects of polarization. Some polarization is good, some are bad. Healthy dualization is excellent, it’s the equivalent of having a jury arguing and they’re making a decision. At first there were nine people, everyone had different views, and then they were slowly polarizing, with different factions, and there were a lot fewer views. Then they argue, hoping to reach a consensus, first polarize, and then there is consensus. Such phenomena are common in society. When consensus is found, all groups act in unison.
Many scholars believe that this process is not necessarily bad. What’s bad? When groups are polarized, start hating each other, or have negative feelings toward each other, that’s bad. Scholars use so-called “emotional polarization” to assess, that is, one group has negative feelings about another, and scholars use methods to assess, such as asking, “Will you marry your child with someone in Group X?” Would you be happy if your child married someone in Group X? “
I’ve seen a lot of internal research that has shown that using social media is beneficial in many ways, such as it makes people more tolerant and more comprehensive.
Stanford researchers recently published a report on polarization in countries. They found that the trend of polarization was different in different countries. In Europe, for example, some countries have been largely polarized, some have eased, and the United States has become more serious. Overall, the report concludes that all of these countries have social media internet, with varying impacts, and that social media or the Internet is unlikely to be the main cause of polarization.
We are very concerned about this problem. Our mission is to make individuals stronger, to have your voice heard, to bring people together, to build communities, to make society more connected, and ultimately to connect the world more closely. So we care about this and we will do everything we can to solve it, we are already acting, and I am confident that there are some areas where we have a positive impact, some of which have a negative impact, and we will try to mitigate the negative impact. We are very concerned about this issue. Even if the overall effect is positive or neutral, we will be very concerned, in short, there is a lot to improve.
I don’t know if what I said pleased you. It’s really good to be able to talk about our mission, because there are a lot of people outside the company who question that. Frankly speaking, we have seen some reports, done a lot of work, and many of the statements outside are not supported by the reports and ignore our efforts.
Facebook employee: You answered my question, thank you.
Zuckerberg: An hour and a half, thank you for listening. We will continue to discuss it. Some of the problems are so deep that they don’t go away any time soon. We do play a very important role. I know that it’s not possible for everyone to agree with everything we do. But there are many things we can do.
I hope we can find ways to get people involved in a positive way, and even if every decision is not going to be satisfactory, we can still create a feeling that there’s a lot of net impact that we’re doing. I am convinced that this is the case.
I am convinced that today we give many people the opportunity to speak out, otherwise they will have to be silent. It’s often controversial to have people speak up, because sometimes you have to stand up for ideas that you personally disagree with. Nevertheless, as time goes on, I believe it will be beneficial to our community, and thanks to all those who participated in the dialogue, we will continue to do so. My heart contains everyone, I hope you are safe, do not have to wait too long, will soon see each other.