Amid mounting pressure to eliminate bad actors from Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company is likely to release more information about problematic content posted on the service during the election. But to ensure the accuracy of the data, Zuckerberg said, the reports are likely to arrive after the elections are over. The measure could help government officials, academic researchers and concerned citizens understand whether Facebook's increased attention to abuse is working, but the timing could make it difficult to understand what happens when it could be said to be more important.
During a conference call with journalists on Wednesday, Zuckerberg answered questions on a number of topics related to the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal and its consequences. Zuckerberg referred to the recent steps that Facebook has taken to protect the integrity of the upcoming elections, including in the United States and Mexico. The Verge asked Zuckerberg how Facebook would evaluate the effectiveness of the changes he made, and how the company would communicate whether they were working both in the run-up to and after those elections.
"One of the great things we are working on now is an effort to be able to share the prevalence of different types of bad content, "said Zuckerberg. Currently, he said, people only know when the bad content is removed if they report it personally or if journalists write about it. In the future, Zuckerberg said, Facebook should share "the prevalence" of different types of bad messages: false news, hate speech, harassment and content related to terrorism, he said.
But Facebook probably would not do that in real time, he said. "The most important thing is to make sure that the numbers we publish are accurate," said Zuckerberg. "We would not do anyone any favors by putting numbers and returning a quarter later and saying, 'Hey, we've messed up this & # 39;'". Done well, these reports "will inform the public debate and generate confidence," he said.
Possibly, public debate would be further enhanced if voters had an idea of how fake news, hate speech and other bad messages formed the narrative during the campaign. But Zuckerberg seemed to resist the idea of reporting in real time. "The internal calculation is much better to take a little more time and make sure we're accurate," he told The Verge . "I think that will be the way we will end up being responsible."
He added that Facebook reports could become a standard followed by other social platforms. "My hope over time is that the playbooks and dashboards that we publish are also followed by other internet platforms," he said. "That way, there could be a standard measure across the industry on how to measure important problems."