Mark Zuckerberg on Joe Rogan podcast: Facebook chief talks about bots, AI and Hunter Biden

Meta chief executive says his companies use third-party platforms to perform fact checks and assess potential misinformation

Meta Platforms chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says there will never be a perfect artificial intelligence system. AP
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Bot accounts on social media platforms are trade-offs all the way down, according to Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive of Meta Platforms.

There is never going to be a perfect artificial intelligence system, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook said on the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which was released on Thursday.

“You could either build a system and be overly aggressive, capture a higher percentage of the bad guys, but also take out some number of good guys by accident,” he said.

“Or you could be a little more lenient and say the cost of taking out any number of good guys is too high, so we are going to tolerate having just a little bit more bad guys on the system. These are values questions.”

Replying to a question from podcaster Joe Rogan on controversial content on social media platforms, Mr Zuckerberg said he had formed an independent oversight board, whose members’ paramount value is free expression.

“It is good to have separation of powers with different stakeholders involved in governance, so it is not just one private company making decisions on what happens on our platform,” he said.

“I have to be involved because I run the company and can’t just abdicate that. I got into this to design technology that helps people connect. The right way is to establish principles for governance that try to be balanced and not have the decision-making too centralised.”

He said he did not want his company to decide what misinformation was.

“We work with third parties and let different organisations decide that. We are not the Ministry of Truth for the world,” Mr Zuckerberg told the podcast, which was bought by Spotify in a $100 million deal.

“There are going to be more such polarising decisions coming up because of the scale of what we do.”

The Meta chief executive was also questioned on how Facebook used algorithms to censor the story concerning Hunter Biden's laptop.

He defended Facebook’s practices and told Mr Rogan that the platform's process were “pretty reasonable” since it still allowed New York Post articles to be shared, as opposed to taking a complete blackout approach adopted by Twitter.

“We took a different path than Twitter. If something is reported to us as potential misinformation, we use third-party, fact-checking programmes,” he said.

“Distribution on Facebook was decreased but people were still allowed to share. Ranking in [the] news feed was a little bit less and fewer people saw it than would have otherwise.”

The FBI approached Facebook and asked the platform to be wary of Russian propaganda linked to the laptop story in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential election, he said.

“But we weren’t sort of as black and white about it as Twitter. We just kind of thought if the FBI — which I still view is a legitimate institution in this country, it is a very professional law enforcement — they come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something, then I want to take that seriously,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

To a question on working models, he said his company was leading from the front in terms of remote work.

“Some types of work, like software engineering you can do from many kinds of places,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“You will never be able to do all things you can do in person, but you will be able to do more and more. You will be able to work remotely, live wherever you want and show up in any place; that is going to be pretty awesome.”

However, he said it was “pretty important” to be present in the same space as other workmates.

“I think we will need to find a mix. If you can give people the ability to work remotely, to teleport to a place and be present as a hologram, that is valuable. But, for larger meetings, the most useful thing is to be able to catch up with people before and after.”

The right way is to establish principles for governance that try to be balanced and not have the decision-making too centralised
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta Platforms

The Facebook founder also said that he did not have time to use social media platforms. However, he said he teaches his daughters to code at bedtime.

He told Rogan that “there is always stuff to work on” and that he had to “maintain control” of his time so he was not merely reacting “to things that people throw at me”.

“You could spend all your time reacting to that but what creates the ability to be successful, long term, is carving out the time that is proactive, that is both taking care of yourself and being physical and getting out there and spending time with my family and my girls,” he said.

Updated: August 26, 2022, 7:17 AM