Instagram boss Adam Mosseri defends Facebook's values: 'No platform is neutral'

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIREDAdam Mosseri, the head of Instagram.
  • Instagram chief Adam Mosseri is defending his platform following last week’s riots in Washington, DC.
  • Mosseri hit back against the idea that Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have tried to be neutral over the years.
  • “We’re not neural. No platform is neutral,” Mosseri tweeted, adding that the company strives instead to be “apolitical.”
  • In the wake of the insurrection, Facebook has banned President Donald Trump “indefinitely” and removed content surrounding the “Stop the Steal” campaign.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri is defending his platform in the wake of the riots at the US Capitol last week.

Mosseri on Monday tweeted about Instagram’s values in response to a tweet from OneZero reporter Will Oremus, who posted about Facebook’s hiring this week of Roy Austin, the company’s first vice president of Civil Rights. Oremus tweeted that Facebook could have hired for the position more than five years ago “if it hadn’t been so intent at the time on portraying itself as a neutral platform and promoting online connection as an absolute good.”

Mosseri — who has overseen Facebook-owned Instagram since the app’s founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, departed in 2018 — hit back on Twitter, disputing the idea that Instagram is interested in being neutral. Instead, he said, Instagram tries to be apolitical.

Over the years, Facebook has repeatedly said that it won’t block or fact-check certain content, like political ads or controversial posts from President Donald Trump, in the name of protecting free speech. The decision has resulted in criticism from users, politicians, and even Facebook’s own employees.

After Facebook announced Monday it would remove all posts regarding “Stop the Steal,” the campaign promoting Trump’s baseless claims that the election was fraudulent, Mosseri tweeted that Facebook was going “much further” than it has to date, but acknowledged that the company’s “enforcement is far from perfect.”

Facebook has also banned Trump from posting on Facebook “indefinitely,” but at least until after Biden is sworn into office next week.


Read more:
Banning Trump from social media is just ‘a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,’ critics say — but no one can agree on the best way to wipe out the disinformation contagion

Last Wednesday, a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed Capitol Hill as Congress worked to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The violent riot resulted in five deaths and dozens of arrests.

Plans to storm the Capitol had been circulating on social-media sites in the weeks leading up to the attack. According to BuzzFeed News, Trump supporters came together in private Facebook groups, including one with nearly 8,000 followers that called for a “Second American Revolution” on January 6.

Experts told Insider’s Katie Canales that mainstream social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were “indirectly involved” in the riots, given that they allowed Trump and his supports to post on their platforms for years.

But on Tuesday, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said that the siege was not primarily organised on Facebook, but on platforms “that don’t have our abilities to stop hate.”

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