When Facebook came under fire in the United States after the 2016 presidential elections for the way its platform was used in the campaign, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the one who drew a lot of flak.
The US is now gearing for another election, and Facebook doesn’t seem to be prepared to take any chances. Sandberg and Zuckerberg are presenting an image of a pair of top executives “incredibly involved” in what Yahoo Finance terms as “content issues.”
The message of the pair’s “hands-on” involvement is something communicated in an interview by three Facebook executives whose job is to deal with content – and who attested to Sandberg and Zuckerberg making content their priority, too.
After all, this is what critics want to see – more policing of the global social media giant. But there are other issues, as the report noted. It’s a laundry list of just about any issue a tech company can have, including such things as national and data security, antitrust and freedom of speech violations.
But none seems to be more important than imposing a tight grip on content, or, as the article put it, “the efforts the company was making to moderate content and mitigate and adjudicate hot-button issues like hate speech, misinformation, and hacking.”
Apparently, Sandberg and Zuckerberg are willing to micromanage the behemoth that currently serves nearly 2.5 billion users and has tens of thousands of employees.
“Any time that we’re dealing with something that is close to the line or it’s something where it’s not really clear how the policies apply or it’s something that’s particularly important, we will, at the very least, send an email up to Mark and Sheryl so that they know what’s going on,” Facebook Head of Policy Management Monika Bickert told Yahoo Finance.
One such case was a video of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said to be manipulated to show her apparently drunk. Facebook was criticized by Pelosi for keeping the video up, although the company also directed users to one of its fact-checking partners for an explanation of what they were looking at.
The case also turned into an example of how Facebook can at once not ban content, and make it effectively disappear from the platform: the Pelosi video is now apparently impossible to find on Facebook, although it is still “there.”
The report said that both President Trump and Democrats are observing the way Facebook is handling its “content issues” – but that the top execs’ declared “deep, hands-on involvement” could prove to be a double-edged sword when things go wrong.