Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized for the role Facebook played in causing division among people in a post Sept. 30, which signified end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish community.
Zuckerberg didn't specify what things caused the divide, but by now it should no longer be a secret. Investigation into President Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia has uncovered crucial information about social media's role in swaying public opinion about the presidential candidates, and Facebook was revealed to have played a huge part in it.
Facebook And The 2016 Election
The social media company recently admitted that Facebook had been manipulated by a Russian troll farm, which bought ads and distributed propaganda to sway the election in favor of Trump's campaign. It's a breakthrough revelation for the same CEO who, several months prior, said the idea that fake news influenced the election was "crazy."
"For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better," Zuckerberg wrote in a short post. "For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better."
Facebook, Protector Of Democracy
Facebook also recently announced that it would turn over copies of the ads the aforementioned Russian troll farm had bought from June 2015 to May 2017. These ads were associated with 470 fake Facebook accounts presumed to have been operated out of Russia.
That was yet another massive shift for Facebook, which previously declined to share those ads, saying it might compromise user privacy. Upon reversing its decision, Facebook reiterated the importance of democracy, saying it doesn't want users to use Facebook's tools to violate democracy.
"That's not what we stand for," Zuckerberg said during a Facebook Live video Sept. 21.
Along with its admission, Facebook also announced a major overhaul to its approach with paid political advertisement. It involves making political ads on the platform more transparent, showing which pages are buying ads and if there are different versions of an ad used to target different audiences.
Facebook has come under intense criticism for failing to acknowledge that its platform is being used as a vehicle to push dangerous propaganda.
Fake news and fake accounts are two of the biggest problems Facebook has ever dealt with — and is dealing with, still — in terms of content moderation. But it's at least reassuring that Facebook no longer denies it does have a problem.