Elliot Schrage, Facebook, DLD Munich talk
Dominik Gigler for DLD

“Facebook Is Not the Digital Wild West!”

Sunday at DLD Munich started with Elliot Schrage’s for Facebook surprisingly open and self-critical keynote. He is Vice President of Public Policy and Communication at Facebook, where he oversees outreach to governments, policymakers and global media about the company’s products and services, corporate business and partnerships. Schrage says that he and his team have not communicated Facebook's mission as clearly as they could. “There is an environment of skepticism.” He pointed out that Facebook was good at finding foreign fishing accounts but was slow to find fake accounts aimed at political manipulation. 

The business executive recognizes a gap between reality and expectations and wants to minimize skepticism: “We are committed to fix Facebook!” What does that mean? Schrage explained a three-point plan: Firstly “Preventing hate!” He says Facebook's policies on speech resemble European standards more than American: “Facebook is not a digital wild west. Hate speech is not allowed.” In the second place Schrage wants to avoid foreign interference: “We are investing into AI to identify content on our platform that is not appropriate.” His third point is ensuring that Facebook time is time well spent. “Facebook will bring benefit to local communities and small businesses.” 

Recently Facebook has announced to redesign how it ranks the posts and pages that appear to its users every day. This could change the information and news that is consumed by billions of people, fundamentally altering the media landscape. But Schrage promises: “Media companies that are most trusted and informative will benefit from Facebook's changes.” The social network platform should return to what it used to be: A place for friends. A community.

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