MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle asks why Facebook gets a pass on spreading misinformation when “we don't forgive” Fox News for doing the same

Recode's Kara Swisher: “There's no accountability, there's no self-reflection, there's no transparency. ... There's a groupthink among these people.”

From the November 15 edition of MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle:

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STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-ANCHOR): [Facebook executives] can't be too thrilled with your upcoming interview where Mark Benioff, where he says Facebook is like our time's cigarettes. If Facebook is intent on sort of the victimization of them or their executives, what will this mean for Mark [Zuckerberg] and Sheryl [Sandberg] going forward? Because, in another New York Times article, when the question was asked, “Could the company do without Mark?” People inside the company said that that's even a bad faith question, “How could you raise that issue?” There’s lots of companies that the founders could be geniuses, and then you move on and you grow up and you realize they're not the right people to run those shops. 

KARA SWISHER (RECODE CO-FOUNDER): Well, I don't think they're going to replace Mark -- it's not like a Travis Kalanick situation at Uber, and he was replaced and the company's doing just fine. I mean, I think people think of these founders as irreplaceable. I think the issue is coming to terms with how to fix it and if Mark capable of doing it. And I think that’s the question, and it's problematic because he controls the entire company. I mean, that, to me, is the biggest problem, is that there's one person in control of one of the most important communications platforms, who seems entirely incapable of putting his arms around all of the problems, or acknowledging them. It's something I talked about in a column I just wrote for The New York Times which dropped just now actually, where we did an interview, if you remember, this summer, a long podcast, and in it he made a lot of errors in it. But one of them was, I kept pressing him about what to do about the killings that are caused by use of Facebook, and he couldn't answer why they happened. He just wanted to focus on solutions. But he created the problem, but then couldn't talk about the past, and I was so perplexed by his inability to reflect on what happened in order to fix it going forward. 

RUHLE: I remember when you did that podcast, my takeaway was, and I remember you talked about it, “Which one do you want to be, Mark? The CEO and founder of one of the most important companies of our time, or are you this sort of introverted tech guy who's just a kid?” So have we celebritized Mark and Sheryl and held them on a pedestal that we don't others? I mean, if Rupert Murdoch and Fox News were putting out misinformation, we don't forgive them for it. We hammer them day in and day out in a way that Mark and Sheryl haven't suffered.

SWISHER: Well, I think, you know, it'll be questionable what will happen -- I think the biggest problem here is what'll happen with regulators. Because there will be like a PR thing, maybe some of their partners will pull away and things like that, but they said some things before Congress and if it turns out that that's not what happened, if there's proof that it's not what happened, what they said before Congress, they're in big trouble with these regulators. They're going to come down hard on this company, and all of internet companies. So all of Silicon Valley is like, “Hey guys, what are you doing? Like, what’s going on?"

Because, there’s a Communications Decency Act, for example, section 230, where internet companies get broad immunity. The question is, should they have broad immunity? Should they have to behave like media companies? Are they media companies? And so all this stuff is going to be debated with more and more of these revelations, and the thing that's going to happen from the Times piece, which was a brilliant piece because it brought together a lot of stuff and added new reporting, is now that these dimes have dropped, everyone's going to drop a dime on Facebook and what happened. And so you'll get -- these things have a rolling nature to them and I think you going to see a lot more revelations in how they behaved, and the fact that nobody has been held accountable for it. And that, to me, and this is what I wrote in the column, there's no accountability, there's no self-reflection, there's no transparency, and there's no irritants in the system; there's a groupthink among these people where there's no one saying, “Hey guys just a second, what's going on here?”


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