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Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s misinformation and hate policies

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s policies when it comes to moderating hate speech and misinformation in an earnings call Thursday, saying, “We do not profit from misinformation or hate.

“We do not want this content on our platforms,” he continued. “As I told Congress yesterday, I am proud of the services we build.”

In Wednesday’s House Judiciary antitrust hearing, Zuckerberg came under fire from lawmakers for how widespread and viral misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic on the platform before Facebook takes them down. In a fiery exchange, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) accused Zuckerberg of profiting off this type of “deadly content.”

Zuckerberg addressed the attacks on Facebook’s moderation policies in Thursday’s earnings call and said 90% of harmful and hateful content is taken down by Facebook’s artificial intelligence before someone reports it. However, Zuckerberg failed to mention just how much impact misinformation can have on his platform. Just this week, a coronavirus conspiracy video falsely touting hydroxychloroquine as an effective cure for the coronavirus and that face masks do not stop the spread of COVID-19 garnered over 20 million views before being taken down. He also said that Facebook is also undergoing an independent audit of its moderation of hate speech to see how effectively its teams and operating systems perform when removing it.

Both Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg addressed the public advertising boycott against Facebook in the call.

“Facebook stands firmly against hate,” Sandberg said. “We don’t benefit from it and we never have. Our users don’t want to see it and our advertisers don’t want to be associated with it.

“It is clear we have a lot more to do,” Sandberg continued. “Not because of pressure from advertisers but because it is the right thing to do.”

Before the Thursday call with Zuckerberg, Facebook released its earnings report, which remained largely undented by the 500-plus companies that decided to pull their money from the platform for the month of July.

Zuckerberg added that Facebook will continue to work on achieving its goal of registering 4 million users to vote before the presidential election this fall and will work to stop election interference. He also anticipates his workforce to remain remote for the foreseeable future and blamed the Trump administration’s lackluster policies for dragging out the pandemic’s deadliness by not listening to health officials.

“I expect this year to continue to be unpredictable,” he said. “It is unclear what the economic outlook will be […] but getting the virus under control will mean economic recovery.”

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