×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Exec Says the Company Made Mistakes but Morale Remains High

Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnerships for the EMEA region, said Tuesday that the company had “made a number of mistakes” and “learned the hard way” during recent crises as it tried to balance access to its platform with screening harmful content and messages.

Walker said that there had “been a huge upswell of support internally” for COO Sheryl Sandberg but that Facebook employees have quizzed her and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on questions raised by The New York Times’ recent investigation into how the company responded to the scandals surrounding misinformation on the platform and misuse of data.

“It’s a very difficult job she’s in,” Walker said of Sandberg. “There’s been a very robust debate on trying to get some answers internally, and I think you’ve seen some of that externally as well.”

But morale remains high, and if outsiders were “privy to some of the internal chats and discussions that are happening, they would probably be impressed at how open people can be directly to Mark and Sheryl,” Walker told reporters at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London.

“We’ve made a number of mistakes by not anticipating, I think, some of the challenges a platform of our size and scope will bring, and we’ve learned the hard way,” he said. “Whether that be through distribution of misinformation, ads integrity, Cambridge Analytica with data integrity, but I can say with great confidence with every step we learn, we adapt and we approach our future with respect for the people that use the platform, with a big investment and a commitment to doing things as best we can, and improving those things.”

He said that the number of people at Facebook reviewing content has increased from 10,000 to 30,000 people.

Facebook has found itself in the cross-hairs recently over data harvesting and its relationship with the now-defunct research group Cambridge Analytica, political messaging on the platform, and the alleged use of PR firms to discredit Facebook critics, as reported by The New York Times. The company has denied some of the allegations in the Times’ article.

Politicians in the U.K. have also joined with their counterparts in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Latvia to demand that Zuckerberg attend a public inquiry into fake news. The Facebook chief has said he is not able to attend.

In terms of the impact of the negative publicity on partnerships, Walker said that Facebook had made strides in beefing up his team and setting up in new territories. “The biggest angst comes when they don’t know who to talk to or where to ask a question, so just by having things in place or [people] who are able to get information…and even sometimes to say, ‘I’m not sure, but these are the things we are committed to do with you,’ has helped a lot,” he said.

The company has opened up its platform to content companies and launched its Watch service internationally. Content companies are keener than ever to work with Facebook now that it has a robust global video platform that can provide a new revenue stream for producers, Walker said.

More Digital

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content