In a long Facebook post Wednesday, Zuckerberg maintained Facebook’s political neutrality, downplayed its role in affecting the 2016 U.S. elections and regretted an earlier comment on the matter.
On the social network’s neutrality, he wrote, “Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.”
Zuckerberg also discussed Facebook’s role in the election, and how he felt it was misconstrued, saying:
- “There were billions of interactions discussing the issues that may have never happened offline. Every topic was discussed, not just what the media covered.”
- 2016 marked the first U.S. election where the internet was “a primary way candidates communicated,” with every candidate using Facebook pages to do so.
- Campaigns spent “hundreds of millions” of dollars on Facebook advertising, which Zuckerberg said was 1,000 times more than “any problematic ads we’ve found.”
- Facebook’s voter-registration) efforts spurred as many as 2 million people to participate in the elections, with Zuckerberg adding, “That’s bigger than the get-out-the-vote efforts of the Trump and [Hillary] Clinton campaigns put together. That’s a big deal.”
As for the comment he would like to take back, Zuckerberg wrote, “After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea that misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive, and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact—from giving people a voice, to enabling candidates to communicate directly, to helping millions of people vote—played a far bigger role in this election.”