SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg rejected the idea of breaking up the social media giant as off-target, saying it could hamper the fight against deceit and harmful online content.
The Facebook co-founder’s defense of the leading social network came as it reported it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that five percent of active accounts are likely fakes.
Facebook and its family of apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp face competition around the world from rivals such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and others in a “competitive and dynamic environment,” Zuckerberg said.
The company does not rule the digital advertising market, which is topped by Google, he noted.
“I think arguments that we are in some sort of dominant position there might be a little stretched,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call about its latest content policy enforcement report.
“The question is, what problems are you trying to solve?”
He argued that breaking up the company might mean fewer resources to curb harmful online content and election interference and improve privacy and the portability of personal data.
“Those are the most important social issues right now, and I don’t think breaking up the company is going to address those,” Zuckerberg said.
“As a matter of fact, I think it is going to make it harder.”
Facebook’s success has enabled it to invest heavily in artificial intelligence and workers to watch for rule-breaking content and activity at the social network, according to Zuckerberg.
“The degree to which the success of this company has allowed us to fund these efforts for safety is massive,” Zuckerberg said.
“We are able to do things that are not possible for other folks to do.”
Facebook announced separately it is creating an independent board to act as a final court of appeals or sorts for disputes about content taken down at the social network.
Decisions of the board will be binding, with Facebook promising to abide by outcomes.
Zuckerberg referred to the independent advisory board and said he cared deeply about people’s freedom of expression when asked about the White House setting up a website to collect input from people who feel they have been unfairly censored on social media.