Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broadcast a Thursday question-and-answer session with employees where he sought to downplay the controversy over leaks from a similar session earlier this week and promised to “try not to antagonize” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) anymore.
On Tuesday, the Verge published a transcript and audio from a recent Q&A Zuckerberg held with interns where he said Facebook would fight Warren’s campaign promise to break up large tech companies, among other things. Zuckerberg attempted to own the leak, posting a link to the story on his Facebook page and reaffirming his remarks in the public Thursday meeting.
“Sure, I may have said it in more of an unfiltered way, but fundamentally, we believe in everything that was in there,” he said. “At this point, I do such a bad job at interviews, it’s like ‘What do we have to lose?’”
He said Thursday that Facebook would likely engage a Warren administration in a lawsuit should it try to divide the company and that he believed Facebook would win.
“I’ll try not to antagonize her further,” he said.
He attempted to address questions of keeping company bias against Warren out of the social network as she campaigned, saying the back-and-forth with her was a chance to connect—“a moment of empathy,” he called it—with people who believe Facebook might be biased against them.
Another employee asked Zuckerberg how he weighs the pros and cons of end-to-end message encryption, the highly regarded security measure that obscures content until it reaches its intended recipient. Earlier in the day, Facebook said it would not abandon plans to encrypt messages sent via Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct in response to a letter from Attorney General William Barr requesting law enforcement access to messages on the company’s apps. The New York Times reported that Facebook Messenger was one of the favored platforms for pedophiles to exchange images and videos of child exploitation but that Facebook was one of the best partners to law enforcement aimed at preventing and prosecuting the crimes.
Zuckerberg said the team working to identify child predators would be able to pick them out by looking at “patterns of behavior” rather than their messages and that he still believed encrypting the messaging apps would be worth the tradeoffs.
"The top messaging app in the United States is iMessage. It’s end-to-end encrypted. People want that,” he said.
Another employee, seemingly half-joking, asked Zuckerberg to respond to Bernie Sanders’ assertion that “Billionaires should not exist.” The CEO’s net worth is roughly $67 billion.
“No one deserves to have that much money,” he said. “At some level it’s not fair, but it may be optimal, or better than the alternative, which is the government chooses everything.” He cited the foundation he started with his wife, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and its funding for scientific research.