Washington: On the eve of World Peace Day, (and on the occasion of the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur) Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg publicly apologised for the social-media platform’s negative effects and asked for forgiveness for his work that was used to divide people rather than uniting them.
Zuckerberg, 33, did not mention any specific incident, but his apology came in the face of mounting evidence that Russians had used Facebook he created more than a decade ago to spread propaganda and influence voter sentiment all to tip the US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour, Washington Post said.
He took to his social media account and wrote, “For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better.”
“For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask for forgiveness and I will work to do better,” he wrote in a brief post.
Earlier, Facebook had announced it would turn over to Congress copies of more than 3,000 advertisements that a shadowy Russian company bought for USD 100,000 from June 2015 to May 2017.
The ads were linked to about 470 fake accounts likely operated out of Russia. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, said last month that the vast majority of the ads didn t specifically mention the presidential election, but it touched on divisive topics, such as LGBT rights, race, immigration and gun rights.
Facebook had initially declined to share copies of the ads, saying it would compromise user privacy, but Zuckerberg announced a reversal of that decision on September 21, the paper said.
“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook Live video.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that the amount of problematic activities Facebook has uncovered is “relatively small”, but he vowed that the company will continue to investigate and enhance transparency on who buys political ads.