On All In, A Former Facebook Employee Criticizes Zuckerberg’s Hypocritical Stance On The Site’s Fake News Epidemic

From the November 15 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes

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ANTONIO GARCIA MARTINEZ: Well, you know, in 2012, the fake news thing wasn't as big a factor. But the reality that Facebook could actually throw an election has been well known for years. I mean, we used to joke internally, and of course it was only a joke, but if Facebook, for example, only showed those little reminders to vote that you see inside Facebook, if it only showed it to a certain subset of counties and certain swing states, it could totally throw the election, right? This is a well known thing that Facebook has been known about and been wary of for years. Weird that Zuck is acting surprised in 2016 that they could possibly have influenced the election.

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): 44% of adults get their news from Facebook. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard people I’ve interviewed, people I’ve talked to people that other journalists talk to, talk about the centrality of this platform. It's the biggest most important media platform in the world right now and it's exercising essentially zero standards over its content.

MARTINEZ: Yeah, look, here's the real hypocrisy of it. Facebook has hundreds of sales people with a huge office in Washington, D.C. And they literally go and tell political advertisers, look Facebook is the most influential platform in the world, we will win you an election and then Zuck turns around and says, no, there's no possibly way that Facebook can influence the election. It's really disingenuous of him to sort of claim this and I think on the face of it, really false.


MARTINEZ: For years companies like Google and Facebook have hidden behind the argument of we just use math. We don’t have the position of the editorship function, right? We don't decide what we show you. It's just math. We optimize for engagement. We show you stuff that we know you’re going to comment and like on and that's it. And I think when the stakes become American democracy, that excuse just isn't good enough. As you just said, I think in the future they will have to assume those responsibilities of editorship. Because they are kind of a media company not just a tech company. 


MARTINEZ: Right I think the problem there is that that culture of responsibility of engagement with your readership is really foreign to the engineering first culture of Facebook. And there's, I think they're kind of allergic to becoming sort of you know The New York Times for the world. 


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