Zuckerberg has no plans to quit, defends Facebook and Sandberg

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed a recent New York Times report critical of his company.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed a recent New York Times report critical of his company.

WASHINGTON • Embattled Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday he had no plans to resign, sounding defiant, after a rough year for the social platform.

“That’s not the plan,” Mr Zuckerberg told CNN Business when asked if he would consider stepping down as chairman.

He also defended Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who has drawn criticism over her handling of the social media giant’s recent crises.

“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues we have,” said Mr Zuckerberg.

“She’s been an important partner to me for 10 years. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”

Facebook has stumbled from one mess to another this year as it grappled with continuing fallout from Russia’s use of the platform to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, the Cambridge  Analytica scandal in which user data was harnessed in a bid to help Mr Donald Trump, and a huge security breach involving millions of accounts.

Most recently, an investigative piece published last week by The New York Times said Facebook misled the public about what it knew about Russia’s election meddling and used a public relations firm to spread negative stories about other Silicon Valley companies and thus deflect anger away from itself.

“It is not clear to me at all that the report is right,” Mr Zuckerberg said of the Times article.

“A lot of the things that were in that report, we talked to the reporters ahead of time and told them that from everything that we’d seen, that wasn’t true and they chose to print it anyway.”

Mr Zuckerberg also defended his company against the broader wave of flak it has taken this year.

“A lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we are going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us,” he said.

“There are big issues, and I’m not trying to say that there aren’t... But I do think that sometimes, you can get the flavour from some of the coverage that that’s all there is, and I don’t think that that’s right either.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Zuckerberg has no plans to quit, defends Facebook and Sandberg'. Print Edition | Subscribe