Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that his company is spending so much money policing content on the platform, that it won’t end up profiting off of political advertisements for 2018’s election cycle.
“We’re essentially going to be losing money on running political ads,” Zuckerberg explained, according to Recode, due to an ongoing and imminent hiring surge. The “cost” of employing “thousands” more and other necessary resources pursuant to content moderation “is going to be greater than the money that we make,” he continued.
While he would also likely claim that it’s for organic reasons, the tech executive appears to be feeling the pressure from the public over concerns of how the social media site is utilized and even manipulated. After President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, investigators ruled that ads and events on Facebook were organized by Russian operatives looking to sow seeds of divisiveness in an already schismatic populace. How well-crafted and ultimately successful those efforts were is debatable, as is if it swayed the presidential contest one way or the other.
Congressional hearings were established, and executives were summoned to explain how social media companies, purportedly operating under a free expression ethos, could allow their respective platforms to be exploited and what they can do to adapt for the future. Facebook particularly seemed to be the recipient of the deep-seated ire from large portions of the public and lawmakers. Zuckerberg himself was eventually called to testify so he could explain his company’s apparent faults, while leaders of Google, Twitter and others were spared (for now) the quasi-wrath of politicians’ wagging fingers. (RELATED: Facebook Plans To ‘Dial Up’ Suppression Of Certain News Outlets)
Zuckerberg has changed his tune on how much Facebook may have affected the election with the Kremlin’s alleged digital attempts at influence. It’s not clear if that is due to a capitulation to hysteria and a compromise of original beliefs, or a legitimate change of viewpoint following further probing. Nevertheless, Facebook’s bottom line will be taking a hit, although, with the company’s deep coffers, it will likely gain little remorse from the public.
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