Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that he has no immediate plans to resign as the company’s chairman. Zuckerberg has come under fire over how the company has handled a number of scandals in the last few months. However, he has dismissed any possible resignation. In a CNN interview, Zuckerberg said that resignation is not part of his plans adding that even though he will not be at Facebook forever, this is not the time he will leave. Zuckerberg is one of the co-founders of Facebook.
Calls of his resignation came in the wake of a new report in the New York Times that accused him and another executive of ignoring warning signs of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. This was one of the most high profile public relations fall out for the social media company. Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data firm that has since been disbanded, is accused of harvesting the data of tens of millions of Facebook users and using it inappropriately for political gains.
The New York Times report also noted that top executives at the company were aware of the infiltration by Russian operatives that were using the platform to influence the US election in 2016 through disinformation. Facebook had learned this in early 2016 way before the elections were held in November. However, the company did very little to address the situation. But one scathing accusation in the Times report was the revelation that Facebook had in fact hired a PR firm to spread fake information about its critics. The PR firm called Definers worked with top Facebook executives for quite some time.
However, Zuckerberg denied any knowledge of this group. He said that he has been in charge of the company all this time and would like to know if such thing actually happened. However, it’s common knowledge that the firm was active. In fact, Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s head of public policy, took personal reasonability for hiring the firm adding that the decision was purely his own. Schrage is in the process of leaving the company.
Facebook and by extension other social media companies have been blamed for letting Russian operatives influence opinions in the US through well-organized disinformation campaigns on social media. Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US Senate early this year to answer questions on the Russian interference and to address the public fall out that came after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company has since taken a number of drastic steps to address the issue including reviewing all data privileges for external third-party apps.
The platform removed dozens of Russian-controlled pages that were actively used in 2016 for the disinformation campaign. Facebook also joined other major tech companies in removing controversial right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platform. Despite this, there are many people who feel that the way the company has handled user data breaches has not been the right one. Since Mark Zuckerberg is in charge of the company, analysts think that he should have taken full responsibility for what happened. However, it looks like this will not happen anytime soon.