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Mark Zuckerberg Has No Plan To Step Down

In the interview, Zuckerberg said there's no doubt that "we missed something really important" when it came to the Russian interference during the 2016 US election

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Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg
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Despite mounting pressure from investors to step down as Facebook chairman as the social media firm faces intense scrutiny on data scandals, Mark Zuckerberg has said he has no plans to retire.

In an interview with CNN late on Tuesday, he said this was not the time for him to quit as Facebook shares ended at $132.43 — down 40 per cent from its peak in July.

“That’s not the plan. I’m not going to be doing this forever, but I’m not currently thinking that makes sense,” said the Facebook CEO.

The interview came after the New York Times reported how Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg “ignored warning signs” of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm to “dig up dirt” on competitors.

“I do run the company. I am responsible for everything that happens here. I don’t think this point was about a specific PR firm; it’s about how we act,” Mark Zuckerberg said during the interview.

The Times report also suggested that Facebook knew about Russian influence activities on its platform as early as spring 2016.

Facebook hired a firm called Definers Public Affairs to retaliate against or spread inflammatory information about its critics.

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s outgoing Head of Public Policy, has reportedly taken the blame for hiring the Definers.

In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the us -- including a "paid for by" disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.
I have no plan to step down: Zuckerberg.

According to a memo with TechCrunch, Schrage admitted having the company push negative narratives about competitors but denies asking or paying Definers to publish fake news.

Facebook didn’t confirm the memo.

In the interview, Zuckerberg said there’s no doubt that “we missed something really important” when it came to the Russian interference during the 2016 US election.

“It was not something we were expecting. I wish we understood it before 2016, before the Russians tried to do these information operations in the first place,” he added.

Last week, Facebook investors increased pressure on Zuckerberg to step down as Chairman.

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According to a report in The Guardian, Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President at Trillium Asset Management which owns a substantial stake in Facebook, “called on Zuckerberg to step down as board chairman in the wake of the report”.

“Facebook is behaving like it’s a special snowflake. It’s not. It is a company and companies need to have a separation of chair and CEO,” Kron was quoted as saying.

Another Facebook investor Natasha Lamb from Arjuna Capital said the combined role of chairman and chief executive means that “Facebook can avoid properly fixing problems inside the company. (IANS)

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Facebook, Zuckerberg Criticized For Allegedly Undermining Democratic Institutions

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Facebook came under fire on Tuesday from lawmakers from several countries who accused the firm of undermining democratic institutions and lambasted chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for not answering questions on the matter.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher, drawing attention to the use of data analytics in politics.

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The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain. VOA

Concerns over the social media giant’s practices, the role of political adverts and possible interference in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. elections are among the topics being investigated by British and European regulators.

While Facebook says it complies with EU data protection laws, a special hearing of lawmakers from several countries around the world in London criticized Zuckerberg for declining to appear himself to answer questions on the topic.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions… seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California,” Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus said.

“So Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear here at Westminster [Britain’s parliament] to me speaks volumes.”

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Avaaz campaigners hold a banner in front of 100 cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. VOA

Documents

Richard Allan, the vice president of policy solutions at Facebook who appeared in Zuckerberg’s stead, admitted Facebook had made mistakes but said it had accepted the need to comply with data rules.

“I’m not going to disagree with you that we’ve damaged public trust through some of the actions we’ve taken,” Allan told the hearing.

Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used its platform to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.

Allan repeatedly declined to give an example of a person or app banned from Facebook for misuse of data, aside from the GSR app which gathered data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook from app developer Six4Three, which is in a legal dispute with Facebook.

Damian Collins, chair of the culture committee which convened the hearing, said he would not release those documents on Tuesday as he was not in a position to do so, although he has said previously the committee has the legal power to. (VOA)