Facebook's board says it pushed Zuck to 'move faster' to tackle Russian election interference

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFacebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
  • Facebook’s board issued a statement that it pushed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other leaders to “move faster” in tackling Russian election interference on the platform.
  • The statement is apparently in response to a New York Times report that said that Facebook’s board grilled Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg over the extent of the problem.
  • The statement denies that Zuckerberg and Sandberg blocked any investigation into Russian election interference on Facebook – something that the Times report never alleged.

Facebook’s board of directors pushed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to “move faster” to crack down on Russian election interference, it said on Thursday.

The statement is an apparent response to a bombshell report from the New York Times on Wednesday detailing how Facebook’s senior execs dealt with the company’s recent string of crises. Per the report, Facebook’s board grilled Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg after then-security chief Alex Stamos said that the social network had not yet stamped out Russia-linked misinformation campaigns on the platform.

In a statement provided by Facebook spokesperson Nora Chan, the company’s board of directors said, in part:

“As Mark and Sheryl made clear to Congress, the company was too slow to spot Russian interference, and too slow to take action. As a board we did indeed push them to move faster. But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair.”

Importantly, the New York Times report did not suggest that Zuckerberg or Sandberg attempted to ignore or block Facebook investigations into Russian interference. Rather, the report holds that Sandberg tried to downplay the extent of Russia’s involvement with misinformation on the platform, and that she was upset with Stamos for what he told the board.

Here’s the full statement from the Facebook board of directors:

“As Mark and Sheryl made clear to Congress, the company was too slow to spot Russian interference, and too slow to take action. As a board we did indeed push them to move faster. But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair. In the last eighteen months Facebook, with the full support of this board, has invested heavily in more people and better technology to prevent misuse of its services, including during elections. As the US mid-term showed they have made considerable progress and we support their continued to efforts to fight abuse and improve security.”

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