1 big thing ... Zuckerberg to "Axios on HBO": "Just wrong" to say Facebook driven by conservatives
Mark Zuckerberg told me in an "Axios on HBO" interview that it's "just wrong" to consider Facebook a right-wing echo chamber, even though conservative voices top the platform's most-engaged content.
- "It's true that partisan content often has kind of a higher percent of people ... engaging with it, commenting on it, liking it," Zuckerberg said from his home in Palo Alto.
- "But I think it's important to differentiate that from, broadly, what people are seeing and reading and learning about on our service."
With social media feeding online rage across the political spectrum, Zuckerberg said there's a "meme" out there "that says ... our algorithm is just trying to find things that are going to kind of enrage people somehow, and that that's what we try to show people. And that's not actually how our systems work."
- When I reminded Zuckerberg how much hate is on Facebook, he replied: "If you look in the country right now ... a lot of people ... are very exercised and I think, frankly, for a lot of good reasons. And we have real issues."
- "I think sometimes there is a fine line between an important level of high energy around an important issue and something that can kind of tilt over into causing harm."
Reality check: The N.Y. Times' Kevin Roose writes that most days, the leaderboard of most-engaged U.S. Facebook links "looks roughly the same: conservative post after conservative post, with the occasional liberal interloper."
- That's based on engagement (likes, shares, comments). Facebook cites the content we see, which is heavy on mainstream news.
Asked how worried he is that history will record Facebook as an accelerant of social destruction, Zuckerberg said: "I have a little more confidence in democracy than that. And I hope my confidence isn't misplaced."
- "But what we do, and I think a lot of what the internet does overall, is gives individuals more power."
See the full episode now on all HBO platforms.
- Clip 1: Zuckerberg on right wing.
- Clip 2: Zuckerberg on anti-vaxxers.
- Clip 3: Zuckerberg on Apple.