Facebook (FB) is on the defensive because of widespread criticism of its policies. The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently met President Donald Trump in the White House to discuss a variety of issues.
An attempt to influence the president
US policymakers have been extremely critical of Facebook’s practices, be it in terms of privacy or the launch of a new cryptocurrency. Zuckerberg attended a meeting at the White House to sway the President’s opinion about his company. The meeting was attended by Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and his social media director Dan Scavino. The President later called it a “nice meeting” in a tweet but didn’t mention anything in details.
Though the company is making several lobbying arrangements to ensure that they change their public perception, they have frequently clashed with Josh Hawley, a Republican Senator. Hawley is critical of Facebook’s history of privacy and user data breaches. After meeting Zuckerberg, Hawley spoke to the reporters and said,
“I said to him, ‘prove that you are serious about data, sell WhatsApp, and sell Instagram.’ That’s what they should do. I think it’s safe to say he was not receptive to those suggestions.”
Why is Facebook’s effort important?
During the last Presidential election, Facebook had a tough time with the authorities. Now it wants to ensure that it doesn’t face the same fate during the 2020 elections. Zuckerberg has been spending time in Washington to talk with the company’s critics, but Hawley is to be believed, then he doesn’t seem to be welcoming arguments against the company.
Hawley called for independent audits of Facebook’s content reviews. He also wants the company to create “a wall” between the core Facebook platform and its other products like WhatsApp and Instagram. However, Zuckerberg denied his requests. The company is establishing an oversight board that will review content on the platform.
To make his case stronger, Zuckerberg met Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal. Note that Warner served on the Intelligence Committee and organized a dinner for the Facebook chief alongside other democrats. He said after the meeting that the CEO understands that self-regulation will not be enough and that the days of “the wild, wild West are over.”
The discussions are not ringing the right bells for the social media company, and the lawmakers are intent on ensuring that their policies regarding user data and privacy are reviewed. They are also focusing on the presence of violent content on the platform as well as the chances of election interference.