Mark Zuckerberg Says Claim Facebook Pushes 'Angry Content' for Profit 'Deeply Illogical'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to a former employee's allegations that the company knowingly profits off of misinformation and hateful content.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen detailed her allegations in several media appearances before testifying about Facebook to the Senate Commerce Committee's consumer protection subcommittee on Tuesday. Hours later, Zuckerberg insisted that Haugen's claims "don't make any sense" in a lengthy Facebook post.

"At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being," Zuckerberg wrote. "That's just not true... The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content."

"I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed," he added. "The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction."

Zuckerberg cited the implementation of the company's "Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed" as evidence that the company is not "focused on profits over people. Zuckerberg said that the change resulted in users "spending less time on Facebook" by showing them fewer viral videos in favor of content from friends and family but was made because "research suggested it was the right thing to do for people's well-being."

The Facebook founder went on to say that he was "particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids" in Haugen's testimony, maintaining that he had "spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids."

Zuckerberg also called on Congress to issue "updated internet regulations," saying he does not "believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own." He stressed that he was displeased that "good work" from Facebook had been "mischaracterized," although he did not refer to Haugen by name in any part of the post.

During her opening statement to the Senate on Tuesday, Haugen, a former product manager with the company's now-defunct Civic Integrity team, alleged that "Facebook's products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy." Haugen argued that Zuckerberg and other leaders in the company know "how to make Facebook and Instagram safer" but refuse to take action "because they have put their astronomical profits before people."

Newsweek reached out to Haugen for comment.

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Whistleblower Angry Content Profit
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement Tuesday night, saying many of the allegations levelled against him by a whistleblower "don't make any sense." Zuckerberg is shown here following a session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 8, 2021 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty