Speaking at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg outlined how his decision to stand up for the principles of free speech will “piss off a lot of people”.
“This is the new approach, and I think it’s going to piss off a lot of people,” Zuckerberg said. “But frankly the old approach was pissing off a lot of people too, so let’s try something different.”
That approach will favor free speech over censorship, according to Zuckerberg.
“We’re going to stand up for free expression,” Zuckerberg said, in an apparent reference to the company’s decision to allow political ads even if they contain false information.
“It’s unfortunate that this is such a controversial thing,” he said, noting that critics are “people not at risk of being censored themselves”.
Facebook has come under fire for accepting a Trump campaign ad that contained inaccurate information about Joe Biden and an Elizabeth Warren ad that her campaign placed with deliberately false information about Zuckerberg and Trump to see if the company would accept it. It did.
Zuckerberg told the audience that he has considered banning political ads like Twitter has done because “from a business perspective the controversy is not worth the very small part of the business that they make up,” but he decided against it.
“Powerful people are always going to have a voice,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel like someone needs to stand up for giving everyone a voice.”
Facebook has come under heavy attack from Democrats because of its ad policy, but they haven’t stopped spending money on the platform because they see it as a necessary evil with its vast reach of the voting-age population. Plus they need to counter the Trump campaign which has spent over $22 million in advertising since the beginning of 2019.