Tech

Instagram head Adam Mosseri says he's worried about Facebook in the 2020 election

Key Points
  • Adam Mosseri, the head of Facebook-owned Instagram, said he's nervous about the company's ability to navigate the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
  • Facebook must defend itself from well-funded people who leverage the social network to anger and polarize users through sophisticated methods, Mosseri said.
Adam Mosseri, Facebook
Beck Diefenbach | Reuters

Adam Mosseri, the head of Facebook's Instagram unit, said he's on edge about the parent company's ability to navigate the 2020 U.S. presidential election, given what took place four years earlier.

"I am nervous about 2020," Mosseri said on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, which posted on Tuesday. "I think that to be comfortable and to be in a job that I'm in would just be dangerous. I think we have to worry."

Mosseri, who took the helm of Instagram a year ago, joined Facebook in 2008 and was key to establishing the integrity team, which works to eliminate fake news on the social network. That became an important initiative after the 2016 election, as concerns rose about Facebook's role in allowing the spread of misinformation and enabling foreign interference in U.S. democracy.

"The accusation that we were behind was fair," said Mosseri, in reflecting on 2016. He said the company was late when it came to considering the potential negative consequences of connecting so many people.

VIDEO7:5907:59
Sen. Warner: Facebook's ad policy allows politicians to 'lie with impunity'

Facebook still has a lot of work to do to defend the platform against well-funded people and groups who can use the social network to anger and polarize users through sophisticated methods, Mosseri said.

"That's terrifying," Mosseri said. "There's progress there, but I'm worried about what we might not know about yet."

Mosseri said the company needs to put as much care and attention into protecting its services from abuse as it does in creating products that consumers like to use.

"We're doing that now, and that is a culture shift that is taking years," he said. Mosseri said his biggest regret "is not advocating for that shift years earlier."

WATCH: Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off

VIDEO1:1001:10
Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off