skip-navigation

U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

Press Releases

Bill Johnson Questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Asked about recent Franciscan University ad which was denied by Facebook

f t # e
Washington, April 11, 2018 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951) | comments
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) today had the opportunity to ask questions of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing:
share: f t

Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) today had the opportunity to ask questions of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing:

Today, Congressman Bill Johnson questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Johnson acknowledged the success story that Mr. Zuckerberg and his company represent. Johnson said, “You are a real American success story. There is no question that you and Facebook have revolutionized the way Americans, in fact, the world, communicate and interconnect with one another. I think the reason that - one of the reasons that - you were able to do that is because nowhere other than here in America, where a young man in college can pursue his dreams and ambitions on his own terms without a big federal government overregulating them and telling them what they can and cannot do could you have achieved something like this.”

Click this link to watch the full segment.

Specifically, Johnson asked Zuckerberg about an incident where a recent ad from Franciscan University of Steubenville depicting Jesus on the cross was denied for being deemed “violent.”

Johnson said: You heard earlier about faith-based material that had been taken down, ads that had been taken down. You admitted that it was a mistake. That was in my district, by the way, Franciscan University, a faith-based university was the one that did that. How is your content filtered and determined to be appropriate or not appropriate and policy compliant? 

Zuckerberg later promised he would get Johnson an answer regarding what happened to the person who was responsible for denying Franciscan’s ad.

Read the full exchange below:

Johnson: Let me add my name to the list of folks that you are going to get back to on the rural broadband internet access question. Please add my name to that list.

Zuckerberg: Of course.

Johnson: I have a lot of those folks in my district. You are a real American success story. There is no question that you and Facebook have revolutionized the way Americans, in fact, the world, communicate and interconnect with one another. I think the reason that - one of the reasons that you are able to do that is because nowhere other than here in America, where a young man in college can pursue his dreams and ambitions on his own terms without a big federal government overregulating them and telling them what they can and cannot do could you have achieved something like this. But, in the absence of federal regulations, that would reel that in, the only way it works for the betterment of society and people is with a high degree of responsibility and trust, and you have acknowledged that there have been some breakdowns in responsibility. And, I think sometimes -- and I’m a technology guy -- I have two degrees in computer science. I’m a software engineer. I am a patent holder; I know the challenges that you face in terms of managing the technology. But often times technology folks spend so much time thinking about what they can do, and little time thinking about what they should do. And so I want to talk about some of those should do kind of things. You heard earlier about faith-based material that had been taken down, ads that has been taken down. You admitted that it was a mistake. That was in my district, by the way, Franciscan University, a faith-based university was the one that did that. How is your content filtered and determined to be appropriate or not appropriate and policy compliant? Is there an algorithm that does it, or is there a team of a gazillion people that sit there and look at each and every ad and make that determination?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, it is a combination of both. So at the end of the day we have community standards that are written out and try to be very clear about what is acceptable and we have a large team of people, as I have said by the end this year, we are going to have more than 20,000 people working on security and content review across the company. But in order to flag some content quickly, we also build technical systems in order to take things down. So, if we see terrorist content for example, we will flag that and we can take that down.

Johnson: What do you do when you find someone or something that's made a mistake? I mean I have heard you say several times today that you know a mistake has been made. What kind of accountability is there when mistakes are made, because every time a mistake like that is made, it is a little bit of a chip away from the trust and the responsibility factors. How do you hold people accountable in Facebook when they make those kinds of mistakes of taking stuff down that shouldn’t be taken down, or leaving stuff up that should not be left up?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, for content reviewers specifically, their performance is going to be measured by whether they do their job accurately.

Johnson: Do you ever fire anybody when they do stuff like that?

Zuckerberg: I’m sure we do. As part of the normal course of running a company, you are hiring and firing people all the time to grow your capacity.

Johnson: What happened to the person that took down the Franciscan University ad and didn't put it back up until the media started getting involved?

Zuckerberg: I’m not specifically aware of that piece.

Johnson: Can you take that question for me -- my time is expired -- can you take this question for me and get me that answer back please?

Zuckerberg: We will.

f t # e