Zuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount

TheHill | 10/20/2019 | Chris Mills Rodrigo
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in the midst of a public relations blitz as criticism of the company he founded mounts in Washington.

Zuckerberg in recent weeks has made a flurry of public and private appearances to make the case for his company and stave off anger from policymakers on both sides of the aisle.

Q - A - Facebook - Staff - Meeting

From livestreaming a Q&A with Facebook staff to meeting with GOP lawmakers and conservative pundits, Zuckerberg has been making the rounds, a sharp break from his company's normal strategy of deploying other high-level executives in moments of crisis.

In the last week alone, Zuckerberg sat down with Fox News for an interview, met behind closed doors with House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and on Thursday delivered a speech at Georgetown University where he painted Facebook as a defender of free speech.

Future - Speech - Georgetown - Facebook - Stake

“The future depends on all of us,” he said during his nearly 40-minute speech at Georgetown. “Whether you like Facebook or not, I think we need to recognize what is at stake and come together to stand for voice and free expression at this critical moment.”

It’s a high stakes gamble for a tech executive who for much of his career has sought to remain out of the public limelight. When Zuckerberg first testified before Congress in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, some critics panned his testimony as robotic. But he emerged largely unscathed despite tough questioning.

Role - Company - Slew - Challenges - Market

Now, he's again taking a more public role in defending his company, which faces a slew of challenges over its market power, privacy policies, an ambitious plan to launch a cryptocurrency, and in its latest controversy — scrutiny over how Facebook handles misleading or false political ads.

Criticism of Facebook's rules has intensified after President Trump’s campaign ran an ad accusing former Vice President Joe Biden without evidence of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TheHill
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