With 2019 right around the corner, Facebook is presumably thrilled to leave 2018 behind as the company looks to fix a lot of the damage its brand experienced over the last 12 months. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to any number of privacy missteps, it seems that Facebook remained in the news for all the wrong reasons for the entirety of 2018. Indeed, even today, Facebook was the topic of a New York Times expose detailing the company’s somewhat misguided efforts to moderate hate speech and other types of harmful content.
With that said, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who many have been quick to label as tone-deaf — published an overview of the company’s struggles and triumphs over the last 12 months. The overview was naturally published on Zuckerberg’s Facebook account and has been greeted with somewhat mixed reviews.
Not surprisingly, the missive begins by acknowledging the new position Facebook finds itself in, which is to say a position of power and influence.
The post reads in part:
For 2018, my personal challenge has been to focus on addressing some of the most important issues facing our community — whether that’s preventing election interference, stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation, making sure people have control of their information, and ensuring our services improve people’s well-being. In each of these areas, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.
We’re a very different company today than we were in 2016, or even a year ago. We’ve fundamentally altered our DNA to focus more on preventing harm in all our services, and we’ve systematically shifted a large portion of our company to work on preventing harm. We now have more than 30,000 people working on safety and invest billions of dollars in security yearly.
To be clear, addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge. But in each of the areas I mentioned, we’ve now established multi-year plans to overhaul our systems and we’re well into executing those roadmaps. In the past we didn’t focus as much on these issues as we needed to, but we’re now much more proactive.
From there, Zuckerberg describes some of the steps the company has made towards combating election interference and the spread of hateful and otherwise harmful content. While some measures the company took are as simple as focusing on trusted sources for newsfeed articles, others involve AI systems built from the ground up designed to discover content related to terrorism.
The full post can be viewed here.