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Zuckerberg put growth above security and bowed to the Vietnamese Communist Party

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

last year, Mark Zuckerberg He has a choice: respond to demands by the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam to censor anti-government opponents or risk being expelled from one of the world’s most lucrative Asian markets. Facebook social networking site.

In the US, the tech chief advocates for freedom of expression, and is hesitant to remove even harmful and fake content from the platform. But in Vietnam, supporting the free speech rights of people who question government leaders could come at a steep cost in a country where the social network generates more than $1 billion annually, according to 2018 Amnesty International estimates.

So Zuckerberg personally decided that Facebook would comply with Hanoi’s demands, according to three people familiar with the decision, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the company’s internal discussions. In January, ahead of a party congress in Vietnam, Facebook dramatically increased its censorship of “anti-state” posts, giving the government almost complete control of the platform, according to local activists and free speech advocates.

Zuckerberg’s role in the Vietnam decision, which has not been previously disclosed, exemplifies his tireless determination to ensure Facebook’s dominance, sometimes at the expense of his stated values, according to interviews with more than a dozen former employees. This spirit has been criticized by a series of allegations filed as complaints to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by Facebook’s former product manager, Frances Hogan.

While it’s unclear whether the Securities and Exchange Commission will take the case or take action against the CEO individually, the allegations made by Francis undoubtedly pose the biggest challenge to Zuckerberg’s relentless leadership over the most powerful social media company on Earth. Experts say the Securities and Exchange Commission — which has the power to demand certification, fine him and even remove him from the presidency — is likely to delve deeper into what it knows and when. While his direct view rarely appears in the documents, people who worked with Zuckerberg say his fingerprints are everywhere.

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In particular, Zuckerberg made many decisions and made remarks that showed a staunch devotion to free speech. Even in Vietnam, the company says the censorship option is justified “to ensure that our services remain available to the millions of people who depend on them every day,” according to a statement sent to The Washington Post.

Frances has referenced Zuckerberg’s public statements at least 20 times in her complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming that the CEO’s unique power and unparalleled level of control at Facebook means that he bears ultimate responsibility for a range of harms to society. The documents you submitted appear to conflict with the CEO on a number of issues, including the platform’s impact on children’s mental health, whether its algorithms contribute to polarization, and the extent of hate speech they are detecting around the world.

For example, last year Zuckerberg announced to Congress that the company removes 94% of hate speech it finds — but internal documents show that its researchers estimated that The company was removing less than 5% of hate speech on Facebook. In March, Zuckerberg told Congress it “wasn’t at all clear” whether social media was attracting people, even though Facebook researchers have repeatedly identified that it does.

the documents Disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and presented to Congress in written form by Francis’ attorneys Obtained and verified by a range of media outlets, including Washington Post.

In her testimony before Congress, Frances Zuckerberg has been repeatedly accused of putting growth above the public good, a claim repeated in interviews with former employees.

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“The specter of Zuckerberg hangs over everything the company does,” said Brian Boland, a former vice president of partnerships and marketing who left the company in 2020 after beginning to believe the platform was polarizing society. “She totally drives it.”

Facebook spokesman Danny Lever denied that Zuckerberg’s decisions “caused harm,” saying the claim was based on “selected documents, misinterpreted and out of context.”

“We have no commercial or moral incentive to do anything but give as many people as possible a positive experience as possible,” she said. “Like any platform, we constantly make tough decisions between free speech, harmful speech, security and other issues, and we don’t make those decisions based on anything – we rely on input from our teams as well as outside experts in the field to deal with them. But it’s always better to let It’s up to elected leaders to put in place these social guidelines, which is why we’ve spent so many years advocating for Congress to pass updated Internet regulations.”

Facebook previously took steps to prevent Zuckerberg from being held individually. In 2019, while The company faced a record $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for privacy violations related to Cambridge AnalyticaFacebook, the political consulting firm that has collected the profile data of tens of millions of social network users, has negotiated to protect Zuckerberg from direct liability. Internal documents with instructions from Facebook revealed that the tech giant is willing to abandon settlement negotiations and fight in court if the agency insists on going after the CEO. /ROMINA CACIA TRANSLATION

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