In an op-ed published on the Wall Street Journal Thursday night, Zuckerberg set out to explain "Facts about Facebook" and especially the facts about one of the most controversial elements on the platform: advertising and data privacy.
In what has now become a well-known tone from CEO, Zuckerberg tells us the common questions and concerns he gets from the users about the Facebook model, in his words and the answers he has to offer, all in an attempt to "explain the principles of how we work."
The first fact offered? Ads keep Facebook free.
"If we are committed to serving everyone, then we need a service that is affordable for everyone. The best way to do that is to offer free services, which ads allow us to do, "he writes.
But the real question is how these ads are served. On the ad targeting principle, Zuckerberg writes that users want ads to be relevant, and to do so, Facebook needs to "understand their interests" – but ultimately, users have transparency and control over how their information is used.
"Based on what pages people like, what they click on and other signals, we create categories … and upload advertisers to show ads in that category," he writes. "You have control over what information we use to show you ads, and you can block any advertiser from reaching you."
Zuckerberg recognizes the "complexity" of this model has led to even more concerns, including whether Facebook sells user data or deliberately allows controversial content to remain in place to "increase engagement."
CEO also has answers here.
He repeats: "We do not sell people's data, although it is often reported that we do." And "clickbait and other junk can run engagement in the short term, but it would be foolish for us to show this on purpose because it's not what people want."
It is a carefully worded statement that allows Zuckerberg to recognize Facebook users "Grab everything when framing them in their own words." A nice first and foremost call and response aimed at averting fears without giving some of the more challenging questions that some users may actually ask (however, within hours of being published, the comments were already full Readers throw in smaller PR-polished issues of their own).
It's not just the 15th anniversary that hits this open letter from Facebook's CEO. The company faced a scandal's string in 2018 – from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that broke in March untilthat it gave companies such as Netflix and Spotify greater access to user data than it had previously described . Even the new year has not brought relief, with reports, the FTC can be set to slam Facebook with a over data privacy issues.
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Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.
Infowars and Silicon Valley: Everything you need to know about the technology industry's discussion of free speech.