Facebook’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has clarified and defended his social network. In an opinion piece on the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg tried to answer questions raised regarding Facebook’s business model.
There has been skepticism regarding Facebook’s intentions behind its targeted ads strategy which has landed the company in hot waters. Many people have accused Facebook of selling people’s data.
However, Zuckerberg said that targeting ads based on interests are different from selling people’s data. He said:
I believe everyone should have a voice and be able to connect. If we’re committed to serving everyone, then we need a service that is affordable for everyone. The best way to do that is to offer services for free, which ads enable us to do.
He explained that people want to see relevant ads if they are to see any. It means that Facebook will require to understand their interests, which can only be done after considering what pages they have liked, what they have clicked on, and many other things.
“In fact, selling people’s information to advertisers would be counter to our business interests, because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers. We have a strong incentive to protect people’s information from being accessed by anyone else,” he writes.
He further added:
On Facebook, you have control over what information we use to show you ads, and you can block any advertiser from reaching you. You can find out why you’re seeing an ad and change your preferences to get ads you’re interested in.
“You can use our transparency tools to see every different ad an advertiser is showing to anyone else,” says Zuckerberg.
In 2016, when it emerged that the social media platform had been used to spread divisive and misleading information that influenced the US elections profoundly, Facebook’s business model came to the forefront and the company had to divulge many of its secrets.
“Clickbait and other junk may drive engagement in the near term, but it would be foolish for us to show this intentionally because it’s not what people want,” said the Facebook’s co-founder.
“Another question is whether we leave harmful or divisive content up because it drives engagement. We don’t,” he wrote.