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Mark Zuckerberg just renounced a core piece of Silicon Valley wisdom - and it could come back to bite Facebook

Business Insider | Apr 11, 2018, 02.00AM IST

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Mark Zuckerberg told US Congress that "I agree we are responsible for the content" on Facebook.
  • It's a stark claim from Zuckerberg, who has previously claimed that Facebook is not a media company, and that it takes no responsibility for what gets posted to the platform.
  • Twitter, Google, and other tech companies have made similar claims.

"I agree we are responsible for the content [on Facebook]," CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a joint session of the United States Congress today.

With one short sentence, Zuckerberg rejected a long-time chestnut in Silicon Valley: that platforms aren't responsible for the content posted by users.

It's a line that companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook itself have often fallen back on, to explain why they've been slow to address issues of hate speech, harassment, and misinformation on their services.

Facebook itself has repeatedly claimed that it's not a media company, and has no interest in making editorial judgments - and that it's largely up to users to sift truth from lies. While the social network has made some tools available to better detect fake news and misinformation, it's long left the ultimate responsibility up to users.

Now that Zuckerberg has claimed, in an incredibly public forum, that Facebook is responsible for the content posted to the social network, these excuses no longer hold water.

Perhaps Zuckerberg will try to walk this back and try to maintain Facebook's neutral stance. This genie is now out of the bottle, though, and there are sure to be repercussions, as critics use his own remarks against him.

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