Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged it will take years to fix his company’s data-breach and election-meddling problems, outlining his plan for a Facebook “Supreme Court” to wrest back control.
Mr Zuckerberg said Facebook’s current problems were in part due to the fact that the company was primarily focused on connecting people during the first decade of its existence, without paying enough attention to negative side-effects.
“I think we will dig through this hole, but it will take a few years,” he told Vox.
“I wish I could solve all these issues in three months or six months but I just think the reality is that solving some of these questions is just going to take a longer period of time.”
However, he reiterated that Facebook had begun to tackle these problems last year, including through hiring more people working on security – a measure that Mr Zuckerberg previously singled out as something that could affect Facebook’s bottom line.
Mr Zuckerberg also revealed the social media platform’s ambitions to fix Facebook’s privacy concerns, by acting as a democratic system with its own independent “Supreme Court” to determine appropriate user Facebook pages, which people will be able to petition if their content is removed.
“I think in any kind of good-functioning democratic system, there needs to be a way to appeal,” he said.
“What I’d really like to get to is an independent appeal. So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second opinion.
“You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.”
Mr Zuckerberg also used his interview to hit back at recent criticism from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who blasted Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica revelations as breaching users’ “human right” to privacy.
News broke in March that the UK-based political data-analytics firm hired by the 2016 Donald Trump election campaign, got its hands on the data of more than 50 million Facebook users – without the users’ knowledge or consent.
Distancing Apple from Facebook and its ad-supported business model, Mr Cook recently said during a MSNBC town hall meeting: “The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”
Mr Zuckerberg responded: “I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth.”