There’s a lot to unpack from Mark Zuckerberg’s leaked audio recording of his Q&A session with his Facebook employees. Mark Zuckerberg regularly holds Q&A sessions with his employees on Friday afternoons where anybody at the company can ask him any question and get honest answers.
Mark continues to stand in front of his employees every week and talk about whatever people choose to bring up to him. These internal meetings stay secret but this recent one got leaked and he owned up to it.
Zuck attempts to own it pic.twitter.com/U5Uj3fijU1
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) October 1, 2019
The past few months have been a rollercoaster for the giant social media company. They got issued a $5 billion fine from the FTC over privacy issues regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal which they accepted to pay, settled with the SEC and paid $100 million. Despite all these, the company reported better than expected second-quarter results. Facebook posted a profit of $1.99 cents per share and generated $16.9 revenue from its 1.6 billion daily active users and 2.41 billion monthly active users.
The Verge obtained a two-hour leaked audio recording of Mark’s meeting where he reveals the company’s future plans.
This is wild. Not necessarily because anything Zuckerberg said here is scandalous. But because Zuckerberg does these company-wide QAs all the time – an important part of FB culture – and he speaks very candidly because he trusts employees won’t leak what he says. https://t.co/stXrGLtOIk
— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) October 1, 2019
Mark will sue you if you make Facebook have an “existential” moment.
Mark shared his fears of Elizabeth Warren’s rallying call to break up big tech. In the audio, he says that if she gets elected President, there would be a legal challenge and that Facebook would win it. He shares his concerns that he doesn’t it to end up with his company suing the government but assures that if push comes to shove, there will be no alternative but to go to the mat and fight.
The fact that Elizabeth Warren strikes fear in the hearts of Silicon Valley wannabe despots is one of the most compelling reasons to support her. https://t.co/dzNTph4YVX
— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) October 1, 2019
Well, Elizabeth Warren responded to this on Twitter
What would really “suck” is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy. https://t.co/rI0v55KKAi
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 1, 2019
He continues to say that breaking up big tech wouldn’t solve issues like election interference or hate speech arguing that they’ll be no proper coordination between companies citing the investments they’ve made.
Mark gives an example of how Twitter can’t do a good job as them as they face the same issues since they can’t put in the investment. He jokes that Facebook’s investment in safety is bigger than Twitter’s whole revenue.
In the audio recording, Mark says that he doesn’t think that the antitrust remedies are going to solve them but he understands that if Facebook and other tech companies don’t help address those issues and help put in place a regulatory framework where people feel like there’s real accountability, and the government can govern our sector, then people are just going to be more pissed.
Concerning Libra’s bumpy plan to launch
Mark says that they’re trying to have a more consultative approach regarding the rollout of Libra as the finance area they’re trying to get into is a very heavily regulated space and they don’t just want to show up and say, “Alright, here we’re launching this. here’s a product, your app got updated, now you can start buying Libras and sending them around.”
Progress on Lasso, Facebook’s TikTok clone
Facebook recognizes how TikTok has grown to get into new markets from its Asian roots as opposed to the normal growth were American companies venture into non-American markets. He even shared how TikTok has surpassed Instagram in India.
He shares that TikTok is if Instagram’s Explore Tab were a standalone app.
Regarding Lasso, another standalone app Facebook is working on, Mark said this:
“We have a product called Lasso that’s a standalone app that we’re working on, trying to get product-market fit in countries like Mexico … We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big.”
His excitement on Brain-Computer interface technology
Mark got asked if Facebook plans to integrate brain-computer interface technology with their VR and AR products and if Facebook could capture purchasing intent and deliver ads using a direct brain link.
Facebook recently acquired CTRL-Labs, a startup based in New York that focuses on converting user movements into digital input signals and thus allows humans to control computers using their brains which is something Facebook has had a keen interest in.
Mark shared that he only wants to use the non-invasive aspects of brain-computer interfaces so that you could do something like looking at something in AR, and you can click with your brain.
“I don’t want to see the congressional hearings on that one”
Other bits include controlling a menu, typing with your brain without having to use your hands or eyes or anything like that.
We’re going for the non-invasive approach, and, actually, it’s kind of exciting how much progress we’re making.
Mark dismissed The Verge’s stories on content moderation as “a little overdramatic.”
There's a lot to unpack from the audio of Zuckerberg we published today — but to me the most revealing is Zuck calling @CaseyNewton's stories about the working lives of content moderators "overdramatic." He sees a math problem, not people. https://t.co/9TmKJonKAI
— nilay patel (@reckless) October 1, 2019
He admits that they are really bad things that people have to deal with and added that he has provided some concrete steps of how Facebook protects its content moderators by making sure they receive the right support and have easy access to mental health resources and counselling.
Other tech tools Facebook is rolling out include updating the near-duplicate detection tool which automatically detects offensive content without having to view it and improving the tools that automatically blur parts of an image, transform pictures to black and white, and blur out faces in images.
Mark also goes on to share on why he wants to retain absolute control of Facebook.
Uh, yeah, LOL. https://t.co/oTVqqfkSyI pic.twitter.com/nfjMFSey80
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) October 1, 2019
Read the whole transcript here.
Basically just trying to re frame the discussion away from facebooks stance which is “we must exist”
— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) October 1, 2019
Still true. https://t.co/jWerc0R5C9
— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) October 1, 2019