The Verge today published text and audio from two recent internal meetings held in July 2019 at Facebook where CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke in a less obsequious, robotic language than he usually uses when speaking at public media-monitored events.
According to an article written for The Verge by Casey Newton, Zuckerberg outlined to employees in a question and answer session the opposition that Facebook faces, including calls for Zuckerberg to have less voting control, government regulators worldwide, presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call for a breakup of Facebook, social media video competitor TikTok, the response to Facebook’s awkward rollout of Libra (cryptocurrency), and more.
Zuckerberg clearly expressed that he doesn’t believe that he or Facebook, as a company, owes accountability to countries’ regulators. His explanation of accountability to regulators was rather flippant.
“I’m not going to go to every single hearing around the world. A lot of different people want to do that. When the issues came up last year around Cambridge Analytica, I did hearings in the US. I did hearings in the EU. It just doesn’t really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up.”
— Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg also outlined how the company is planning to counter the global advance of a competing TikTok app by ByteDance. Facebook is known for buying companies, muscling them out of the market, or copying their features.
A CNBC report by Salvador Rodriguez describes that the leak demonstrates there is growing dissent inside Facebook. Rodriguez also described that a former Facebook employee told CNBC that whenever the source of a leak is found, that individual gets terminated. Facebook even “has teams that investigate scandals and go after leakers.” Four former Facebook employees told CNBC that the Facebook leaks exposed to the world today are a sign of changing times at Facebook.
Zuckerberg responded with almost incoherent speech about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s threat to break up Facebook. There was no mention of President Donald Trump in the transcript of the leaked audio. Mark Zuckerberg responded to the question about whether he is personally worried about regulators coming in and breaking up Facebook, especially with the rise of politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It’s clear Warren is under his skin. Yes, he’s worried; he projected the word “worried” onto his opponents mindset description three times at the beginning of the following statement.
“So there might be a political movement where people are angry at the tech companies or are worried about concentration or worried about different issues and worried that they’re not being handled well. That doesn’t mean that, even if there’s anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. I mean, that’s not the position that you want to be in when you’re, you know, I mean … it’s like, we care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”
— Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg also addressed stress and mental health abuses experienced by Facebook moderators. The Verge previously exposed some of the mental/emotional abuses experienced by outside contractors. Zuckerberg responded to a question at the meeting saying, “Some of the reports, I think, are a little overdramatic.”
In September 2019, protesters demonstrating against corporate secrecy and a toxic work environment with possible bullying, gathered outside Facebook’s headquarters after an employee named Qin Chen committed suicide by jumping off of a Facebook building on September 19, 2019.
— 王启年 (@AYellowFolk) September 26, 2019
The leaked audio revealed that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t speak in the same style at internal meetings, compared to his public style that he uses to speak externally, using very robotic, carefully articulated statements. Some critics have described Zuckerberg as alien-like in appearance and mannerisms during his public speaking or video presentations. Thorough analysis of the audio and transcripts is likely to draw additional conclusions about Zuckerberg and Facebook. Certainly TikTok developers and strategists from ByteDance will be paying particular attention.
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— The Verge (@verge) October 2, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently admitted to employees that the prospect of an Elizabeth Warren presidency could "suck" for the company, according to leaked audio published by The Verge. https://t.co/PNrcaMYZU7
— CNN (@CNN) October 1, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg candidly addressed a number of questions about Facebook during an open meeting with employees, according to leaked audio obtained by the Verge.https://t.co/oPz6UdOBH0
— Axios (@axios) October 1, 2019
The Verge is technology news and media network operated by Vox Media. The network, with headquarters in Washington D.C., publishes news items, long-form feature stories, guidebooks, product reviews, and podcasts.