Stepping down as Facebook chairman ‘not the plan’, says Zuckerberg

File photo dated 24/07/13 of Mark Zuckerberg. British and Canadian politicians have joined forces in calling on the Facebook
File photo dated 24/07/13 of Mark Zuckerberg. British and Canadian politicians have joined forces in calling on the Facebook founder to explain "failures of process" regarding the spread of propaganda on the social network.

Mark Zuckerberg has said he does not intend to stand down as Facebook chairman despite renewed criticism over the social network’s business practices.

In an interview with CNN, the Facebook founder was asked if he would step down as chairman – a role he holds alongside that of chief executive – and said “that’s not the plan”, before adding: “I am currently not thinking that makes sense.”

Facebook’s senior management has come under renewed scrutiny after a New York Times report last week claimed the company had hired a PR firm to discredit critics of the social network by linking their funding to philanthropist George Soros, and that Facebook staff had been aware of malicious Russian activity on the site for longer than publicly stated.

It follows the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, and a high-profile data breach reported in September.

Mr Zuckerberg also said he hoped to continue working with chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who has also been under pressure after the New York Times report.

(Facebook/PA)
Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook/PA)

“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest issues that we have, and she’s been an important partner for me for 10 years and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”

The Facebook boss said the company was keen to work with “governments, other companies and non-profits” to address issues linked with the site – such as misinformation and election interference – because it would not be able to fix these problems by itself.

Mr Zuckerberg also acknowledged recent criticism of the company was “fair”, but was defiant about the work Facebook was doing.

“There are always going to be issues if you’re serving a community of more than two billion people – there’s going to be someone who is posting something that is problematic, that gets through the systems that we have in place, no matter how advanced the systems are,” he said.

“I think, by and large, a lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we’re going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering this.”

He said Facebook’s use around politics remained important because it gave more people a voice, adding that with support from “governments, partnerships and with a ton of investment” the site could stay ahead of the “sophisticated threats” posed by nation states and other organisations looking to interfere in elections.

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