Mark Zuckerberg pushes back on calls to break up Facebook

“The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems is greater than Twitter’s whole revenue this year,” Zuckerberg said.
Image: Mark Zuckerberg Delivers Keynote Address At Facebook F8 Conference
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference at McEnery Convention Center on April 18, 2017 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

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By Michael Cappetta

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday shined a spotlight on the company’s investments in safety and security — while also pointing to the efforts as a reason not to break up the technology giant.

“The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems is greater than Twitter’s whole revenue this year,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re able to do things that I think are just not possible for other folks to do.”

His comments came during a conference call with reporters to discuss the release of Facebook’s transparency report, which highlights the work the company is doing to make the platform safer and rid it of fake content. He also pledged that the company will release its transparency report four times each year.

"The health of the discourse is just as important as any financial reporting we do, so we should do it just as frequently," he said.

The social network has faced growing criticism from consumer advocates, politicians and even a co-founder over the power the company holds, with the proposed solution focused on separating Facebook from some of its other parts that include Instagram and WhatsApp.

Two weeks ago, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wrote an editorial in The New York Times titled “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.”

“Mark may never have a boss, but he needs to have some check on his power. The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.” Hughes wrote.

Zuckerberg pushed back against that call, arguing the challenge of policing the massive social network would be made harder if it were broken up.

“I don't think the remedy of breaking up the company will address those,” Zuckerberg said. “It will make it much harder.”

The report released by Facebook detailed the significant size of the challenge the company faces in cleaning up its platform and keeping it safe. The company said in the report that it removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first three months of 2019.