Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence as Congress demands answers after whistleblower testimony
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a Senate panel Tuesday that the social media giant prioritizes profits over the safety of its users, including its youngest and most vulnerable.
Yet Mark Zuckerberg had remained silent on the internal documents Haugen leaked to The Wall Street Journal.
On Sunday when Haugen appeared on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” the Facebook founder and CEO posted a video taken with the company’s new Ray-Ban smart glasses showing him sailing with wife, Priscilla Chan.
Late Tuesday Zuckerberg broke his silence, claiming that many of Haugen’s allegations “don’t make any sense.”
“At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s just not true.”
►Facebook whistleblower:Frances Haugen tells Senate that Facebook makes ‘disastrous’ choices, prioritizes profit
►Who is Frances Haugen? Everything you need to know about Facebook whistleblower
And, he said, “the argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical.”
Zuckerberg may not get off the hook with a Facebook post. Congress still wants to hear from him.
The top Democrat on the Senate panel that heard testimony from Haugen said he would call on Zuckerberg to testify. Facebook did not respond if Zuckerberg would appear before Congress.
“Mark Zuckerberg ought to be looking at himself in the mirror today, and yet, rather than taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is going sailing,” said Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“His new modus operandi: No apologies, no admission, no action, nothing to see here,” Blumenthal said. “‘Mark Zuckerberg, you need to come before this committee. You need to explain to Francis Haugen, to us, to the world and to the parents of America what you were doing and why you did it.’”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Senate subcommittee, tweeted: “If Facebook wants to discuss its targeting of children, come forward and testify.”
One Twitter user responded this way: “She made her statement under oath. Please feel free to do the same.”
Haugen told lawmakers Tuesday she believes Facebook won’t change unless Congress forces it to. And, she said, the buck stops with Zuckerberg, who controls more than 50% of the voting shares.
Blumenthal stopped short of saying he would issue a subpoena, asking that Zuckerberg appear before Congress voluntarily.
“He has a public responsibility to answer these questions,” Blumenthal said after Tuesday’s hearing, according to CNBC.
Lawmakers are not the only ones looking for answers. The NAACP is demanding a sit-down with Zuckerberg.
One internal Facebook study leaked by Haugen found that Facebook took action on as little as 3% to 5% of hate speech, according to 60 Minutes.
“Vaccine hesitation, political violence and white supremacy are rampant. We urged Mark Zuckerberg to address these issues over a year ago, but in our meeting, he simply danced around the severity of his company’s failures, showing no interest in taking action,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement.