Amid growing pressure to eliminate bad actors from Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company is likely to release more information about problematic content posted on the service during the election. But to ensure the accuracy of the data, Zuckerberg said, the reports are likely to arrive after the elections are over. The measure could help government officials, academic researchers and concerned citizens understand whether Facebook's growing attention to abuse is working, but the timing could make it harder to capture what happens when it could be said to be the most important thing.
During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Zuckerberg answered questions on a number of topics related to the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal and its consequences. Zuckerberg referred to the recent steps that Facebook has taken to protect the integrity of the upcoming elections, including in the United States and Mexico. The Verge asked Zuckerberg how Facebook would evaluate the effectiveness of the changes he made, and how the company would communicate whether they were working in both the period before and after those elections.
"One of the great things we are working on now is an effort to share the prevalence of different types of bad content."
"One of the great things we are working on now is an effort to share the prevalence of different types of bad content," Zuckerberg said. Currently, he said, people only know when the bad content is removed if they report it personally or if journalists write about it. In the future, Zuckerberg said, Facebook should share "the prevalence" of different types of bad messages: false news, hate speech, intimidation and content related to terrorism, he said.
But Facebook probably would not do that in real time, he said. "The most important thing is to make sure that the numbers we publish are accurate," said Zuckerberg. "We would not do anyone any favors by putting numbers and returning a quarter later and saying, 'Hey, we've messed up this & # 39;'". Done well, these reports "will inform the public debate and generate confidence," he said.
It could be said that the public debate would be further improved if voters had an idea of how false news, hate speech and other bad messages formed the narrative during the campaign. But Zuckerberg seemed to resist the idea of reporting in real time. "The internal calculation is much better to take a little more and make sure we are accurate," he told The Verge. "I think that will be the way we will end up being responsible."
He added that Facebook reports could become a standard followed by other social platforms. "My hope over time is that the playbooks and dashboards that we publish are also followed by other internet platforms," he said. "That way, there could be a standard measure across the industry on how to measure important problems."