Facebook executive blames 'individual humans' for the spread of misinformation, saying they choose what to believe and what to share
- Andrew Bosworth told Axios on HBO people are responsible for believing and sharing misinformation.
- Bosworth will become the CTO of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, next year.
An executive at Meta, formerly known as Facebook, said on Sunday that "individual humans" are responsible for spreading misinformation as the company faces backlash over its own practices.
"If we took every single dollar and human that we had, it wouldn't eliminate people seeing speech that they didn't like on the platform. It wouldn't eliminate every opportunity that somebody had to use the platform maliciously," he said.
Bosworth, currently Meta's vice president of augmented and virtual reality, said he recognizes that speech can cause harm, but the responsibility for what is shared on its platforms ultimately falls on people and society.
"Individual humans are the ones who choose to believe or not believe a thing. They are the ones who choose to share or not share a thing," Bosworth told Axios. "I don't feel comfortable at all saying they don't have a voice because I don't agree with what they said, I don't like what they said."
—Axios (@axios) December 12, 2021
A study published in September found posts on Facebook from misinformation sources got six times more engagement on the platform than posts shared by reputable news sources. Another report published the same month found troll farms spreading misinformation reached about 140 million Americans a month ahead of the 2020 election.
When asked by Axios on HBO host Ina Fried about how Facebook has contributed to vaccine hesitancy, Bosworth touted Facebook's campaign to spread accurate information about the vaccine.
He said if people want to follow less reliable information they see shared by others on Facebook, "that's their choice."
"They are allowed to do that. You have an issue with those people. You don't have an issue with Facebook. You can't put that on me," he said.
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