The Times detailed obfuscation by Facebook's top bosses on the Russian Federation front, said the company has at times smeared critics as anti-Semitic or tried to link activists to billionaire investor George Soros, and also tried to shift public anger away toward rival tech companies.
The California-based company´s announcement followed a lengthy New York Times investigation detailing Facebook´s struggles with its image as it came under scrutiny for its handling of Russian-led misinformation efforts. Among the revelations was that Facebook hired an opposition-research firm that uses a right-leaning news site to go after clients' "enemies", and that the company previously tried to downplay the existence of Russian meddling on the platform.
The note also addresses how Facebook will approach challenges algorithmic bias, the idea that sensationalist news is some of the content people engage the most with, proactive content removal, regulation, and more. Facebook along with other platforms like Twitter, are also trying to define their role in policing hateful posts.
Gaspard said he was "shocked" by the report. But in its blog post, Facebook said "Definers did encourage members of the press to look into the funding of 'Freedom from Facebook, ' an anti-Facebook organization".
However, Definers says it never sought to smear Soros.
The firm circulated a document to reporters that "cast Mr. Soros as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement", according to the New York Times, and it "pressed reporters to explore the financial connections between Mr. Soros's family or philanthropies" and groups critical of Facebook. But at bottom, this is not about George Soros or the foundations.
"It's been disappointing to see how [Facebook leaders] have failed to monitor hate and misinformation on Facebook's platform".
The body will take some important content monitoring decisions out of the hands of Facebook.
In contrast to Facebook's pledges in years gone by to simply "make the world more open and connected", and long-held tech industry assumptions that good speech will triumph over bad in the marketplace of ideas, Zuckerberg agreed that sensationalist, damaging posts can engage more users than positive content. "As a board we did indeed push them to move faster", the board statement said.