Despite some not so subtle political jabs from CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Donald Trump, Facebook won’t use its power to try to sway the upcoming US election — even if some employees within the company wonder whether it should.
Each week Facebook holds an internal Q&A for employees with Zuckerberg, and the topics are determined by the results of an internal survey. Gizmodo got hold of the questions submitted for the weekly Q&A in early March, one of which was: “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017.”
We don’t know what Facebook or Zuckerberg said in response to the question during the Q&A.
But when reached for comment about the question a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider:
“Voting is a core value of democracy and we believe that supporting civic participation is an important contribution we can make to the community. We encourage any and all candidates, groups, and voters to use our platform to share their views on the election and debate the issues. We as a company are neutral — we have not and will not use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote.”
Facebook’s response is an acknowledgement of just how powerful the social network’s Timeline has become. And it’s worth noting that the company has gotten in trouble for manipulating what appears in its users’ newsfeeds in the past. As part of an experiment in 2012, data scientists at Facebook deleted all of the positive or negative comments from over 600,000 people’s newsfeeds for an entire week in order to see how it affected their moods. Facebook later apologised for the psychological experiment, noting that things should have been “done differently.”