Gripped with a string of scandals that have impacted not only Facebook shares but also his personal wealth, the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now defended the company and his own role at the world’s largest social media giant.
In a recent interview with CNN, Zuckerberg clarified that he had no intentions of leaving his role as the chairman at Facebook, despite increasing pressure from employees and shareholders.
Zuckerberg and Facebook have also been facing intensified pressure from users and the industry in general to take a closer look at its practices and policies.
However, during the interview, Zuckerberg blamed the negative image that the company has developed in recent years on the “different world view” by some journalists who cover Facebook.
Over the last two years in specific, Facebook has been rocked by crises involving over its handling of the covert Russian propaganda during the 2016 Presidential election and its mishandling of millions of users’ personal information.
More recently, the company drew intense backlash in the U.S., over its hiring of a controversial public relations firm that had an “in-house fake news shop.”
Commenting on the criticisms that Facebook was too slow to name Russia as the source of divisive political messages in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, Zuckerberg defended his stance.
Claiming that he had no regrets, Zuckerberg said, ‘It’s a really big deal to come out and say that a nation-state is behind something, and before our company puts a stamp on something saying that, I want to be really sure that it’s factual.’
According to a report in the New York Times, Facebook considered naming Russia in April 2017 but waited until September of that year.
Currently, Zuckerberg has complete control of the social network as its chief executive, chairman and controlling shareholder.
In 2008, the company’s embattled second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook as its chief operating officer from Google.
Sandberg has given no indication that she plans to leave the company. However, Zuckerberg supported her decisions, saying that he hopes Sandberg stays on with the company despite the controversies.
Answering a question on whether he could “definitively say” that Sandberg will stay in her current role, Zuckerberg reportedly said, “Yeah, look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest issues that we have.”
He pointed out, “She’s been an important partner for me for 10 years, and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together, and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”
Further, during the interview, Zuckerberg said that he had no plans to give up his role as board chairman and explained, “I’m not gonna be doing this forever, but I’m certainly — I’m not currently thinking that that makes sense.”
A report in NBC News quoted sources as pointing out that Zuckerberg and Sandberg believe Facebook’s negative image is a public relations problem that they claim stems from a bungled press strategy and sensational media coverage.
They reportedly believe that the problem is not related to a structural or philosophical shortcoming that requires a wholesale course correction at the company.
In his interview, Zuckerberg criticized the outlook of some journalists who report on the company and said, “If we’re going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well which is that, we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us.”