Commentary

Zuckerberg Says He'll 'Go To The Mat' To Fight Facebook Breakup

Publicly, Mark Z.uckerberg is a big supporter of stricter government regulations.

But, behind closed doors, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO says he’s ready to rumble with anyone who challenges his company’s massive market position.

“At the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential [as a company breakup], you go to the mat and you fight,” Zuckerberg told Facebook employees in July,  according to two hours of audio just obtained by The Verge.

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The someone to whom Zuckerberg was referring was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who, at the time, was vigorously promoting her proposal to turn Facebook into the next Standard Oil or Bell System.

Coincidence or not, Facebook briefly scrubbed its platform of Warren’s ads pushing for a breakup in March. At the time, a company spokesperson said Facebook removed the ads because they violated its policy against use of its corporate logo.

In a tweet, Sen. Warren said Facebook censoring her ads only proved her original point: The company has become too powerful.

Rather than profits, however, Zuckerberg makes the point that an intact Facebook is actually in the best interest of consumers.

In July, for example, he told Facebook’s workforce that a breakup would actually worsen issues like the spread of fake news and foreign election interference.

Serious government intervention "doesn’t make election interference less likely," he said. “It makes it more likely because now the companies can't coordinate and work together.”

Taking the opportunity to roast Twitter, Zuckerberg added: “Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company.”

During the recorded companywide meeting in July, Zuckerberg also talked about his decision not to participate in a number of government hearing, at home and abroad.

 “It just doesn't really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up,” he said.

Separately, Zuckerberg also dismissed reports that Facebook’s contracted content moderators have been traumatized by their work, and that the company has not done enough to protect their mental health.

“Some of the reports, I think, are a little overdramatic,” Zuckerberg said.

That said, Zuckerberg admitted that "there are really bad things that people have to deal with, and making sure that people get the right counseling and space and ability to take breaks and get the mental health support that they need is a really important thing.”
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