After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a self-congratulatory post about how well Facebook responded to the challenges it faced in 2018, the social media giant’s critics responded with scorn.
“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,” the post on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page began.
“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,” he wrote, before listing all the areas where he said the company had improved.
For 2018, my personal challenge has been to focus on addressing some of the most important issues facing our community…
Writing on Forbes in a piece titled, “Facebook CEO Post ShowsTone Deaf Platform Destined For More Woe In 2019,” commentator Paul Armstrong said Zuckerberg’s post was a failure.
“The biggest issue with the post is the list of work Facebook has done and still that have yet to yield any major impact. When read as a whole, the post simply confirms one thing about Facebook. No change has affected (or is designed to affect) the leading cause of Facebook’s problems — the business model,” he wrote.
“Without this, Facebook is doomed to become irrelevant to other platforms or become extremely dangerous and be broken up,” Armstrong wrote.
On the website TechCrunch, Zack Whittaker wrote that “Zuckerberg’s tone-deaf remarks read like 1,000 words of patting himself on the back.”
“Acknowledging that the social network played its part in the spread of hate speech, election interference and misinformation, Zuckerberg’s note seemed more upbeat about his response to the hurricane of hurt caused by the company’s laissez-faire attitude to world affairs and less concerned about showing contrition and empathy for the harm Facebook caused in the past year — including its inability to keep its users’ data safe and, above all else, its failure to prevent its site from being used to incite ethnic violence and genocide,” Whittaker wrote.
“In his 1,000-word post, Zuckerberg said he was ‘proud’ three times, he talked of the company’s ‘focus’ four times and how much ‘progress’ was being made five times. But there wasn’t a single ‘sorry” to be seen,” he added.
— CNET (@CNET) December 29, 2018
Mark Douglas, CEO of the advertising platform SteelHouse, told Cheddar that Zuckerberg’s comments were “out of touch with people’s perception. It’s going to be a rocky year, that’s clear.”
“They are the least trusted company in tech. They are going to have to rebuild the trust with the users or they are going to lose those users,” Douglas said.
Writing on Business Insider, writer Troy Wolverton said Zuckerberg’s post shows he is out of touch with common perceptions of Facebook.
“If you asked pretty much anyone else on the planet about the kind of year Zuckerberg’s company — Facebook — has had, they’d probably use words or phrases such as ‘horrible,’ ‘disastrous,’ or ‘scandal-plagued,'” he wrote.
“The letter was anything but a humble apology,” Wolverton said. “Instead, it reads more like the kind of self-evaluation someone writes when they’re gunning for a promotion or a raise. …
“And don’t worry, Facebook’s not going to rest on its laurels, Zuckerberg assures us. Instead it’s going to keep working, he says. … Thank goodness! I mean, just think about how great 2019 will be for Facebook and the rest of us if the company accomplishes as much as it did this year.”
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