Facebook has spoken out over fears that social media is having a negative effect on society and eroding democracy.
The social network is currently under fire over accusations that Russia used it to spread fake news which influenced votes in United States, Britain and France.
Now Facebook, the world’s largest social network with more than 2 billion users, has spoken out about social media’s influence on democracy.
‘I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can’t,” Samidh Chakrabarti, a Facebook product manager, wrote in a blog post.
Facebook, he added, has a ‘moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used and what can be done to make communities like Facebook as representative, civil and trustworthy as possible’.
Contrite Facebook executives were already fanning out across Europe this week to address the company’s slow response to abuses on its platform, such as hate speech and foreign influence campaigns.
American lawmakers have held hearings on the role of social media in elections, and this month Facebook widened an investigation into the run-up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership.
Chakrabarti expressed Facebook’s regrets about the 2016 U.S. elections, when according to the company Russian agents created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people over two years.
The company should have done better, he wrote, and he said Facebook was making up for lost time by disabling suspect accounts, making election ads visible beyond the targeted audience and requiring those running election ads to confirm their identities.