Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday in a live speech that his company has turned over to Congress ads bought by Russian operatives to influence the 2016 U.S. election. He also explained what Facebook is doing to make its platform more transparent. Here's the transcript of his full speech.
Today is my first day back in the office after taking parental leave. It was really special to be with Priscilla and August after she was born, and to get to spend some more time with Max.
While I was out on leave, I spent a lot of time with our teams on the question of Russian interference in the US elections. I made some decisions on the next steps we're taking, and I want to share those with you now.
First, let me say this. I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity. Facebook's mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values and we're proud of them. I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That's not what we stand for.
The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world. That's why we've built teams dedicated to working on election integrity and preventing governments from interfering in the elections of other nations. And as we've shared before, our teams have found and shut down thousands of fake accounts that could be attempting to influence elections in many countries, including recently in the French elections.
Now, I wish I could tell you we're going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn't be realistic. There will always be bad people in the world, and we can't prevent all governments from all interference. But we can make it harder. We can make it a lot harder. And that's what we're going to do.
So today I want to share the steps we're taking to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy. While the amount of problematic content we've found so far remains relatively small, any attempted interference is a serious issue. Here are 9 things we'll be working on over the next few months:
At the same time, it's important not to lose sight of the more straightforward and larger ways Facebook plays a role in elections -- and these effects operate at much larger scales of 100x or 1000x bigger than what we're discussing here.
In 2016, people had billions of interactions and open discussions on Facebook that may never have happened offline. Candidates had direct channels to communicate with tens of millions of citizens. Campaigns spent tens of millions organizing and advertising online to get their messages out further. And we organized "get out the vote" efforts that helped as many as 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise. Many of these dynamics were new in this election, or at much larger scale than ever before in history, and at much larger scale than the interference we've found.
But we are in a new world. It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that's what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion. Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere.
Thanks for tuning in, and we'll keep you updated with more soon.