“For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better” Mark Zuckerberg posted to Facebook tonight on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. Yet first Facebook must redeem itself by recognizing how its dewy-eyed trust in the world can be abused.
Zuckerberg has recently faced stern criticism from liberals over Facebook’s failure to block fake news and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, while simultaneously having Facebook called “anti-Trump” by the President himself.
Today’s statement was met with mixed reactions, with some pointing out that Zuckerberg had listed himself as an atheist until late 2016 when he reaffirmed the Jewish faith in which he’d been raised.
“Oh former atheist Mark Zuckerberg, suddenly so religious now that he’s aiming for the world’s presidency. To make it very clear: no problem in being an atheist whatsoever; the problem is to use religion as a political tool” Brazilian ad platform Boo Box co-founder Marco Gomes tweeted.
“Forgiveness is denied by both. God and humanity, since you & Sheryl knew what was happening, condoned it, & then lied about both its existence and impact” tweeted Matt Ocko, partner at VC fund Data Collective. Journalists from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal cautiously shared Zuckerberg’s post without comment.
Facebook has shown significant progress in thwarting interference in elections in Germany and France, deleting malicious accounts and working closely with election commissions. But as more information about the extent of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential race emerges, Zuckerberg has come under additional fire.
The company has repeatedly been warned of abuse and its inadequate responses, yet dismissed issues as edge-cases or bugs in its system. Back in 2015, Russian trolls…