Facebook is becoming more willing to address its effects on politics and society — and to look at changes in its policies.
Months after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was not a media company and did not influence the 2016 election in a substantial way, the company is taking new steps to prevent “fake news” from showing up in its feeds.
It is also addressing how terrorists and other criminals have used the social media network, and what to do with the online identities of users who have died.
The company on Thursday said it would start a new series of posts to explore these “hard questions.”
“The decisions we make at Facebook affect the way people find out about the world and communicate with their loved ones,” Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of public policy and communications, wrote in the initial post.
“It goes far beyond us. As more and more of our lives extend online, and digital technologies transform how we live, we all face challenging new questions — everything from how best to safeguard personal privacy online to the meaning of free expression to the future of journalism worldwide.”
The first step came later that day, when the company detailed the strategies it employs to find and delete terrorist content on its site. Those efforts include using artificial intelligence and a team of 150 workers.
Facebook’s public reckoning with these issues comes as its extraordinary growth has resulted in pressure from policymakers around the world to address its problems.
The new campaign has been a long time coming. Facebook staffers say privately that the company has been grappling with how to address its massive growth and changes in how users get and use information. Internally, some have admitted the need for change, but insist the social media platform is a net force for good.
Facebook didn’t explain what brought on the decision to publicly address many of these issues now, but a spokesman said that they had been thinking about improving…