Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday called out critics who have accused the tech giant of being driven by profits at the expense of public safety.
Zuckerberg’s comments came in a companywide memo following a raucous week for the company that included two days of testimony from former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen and a global outage that plunged the business into chaos for hours.
Haugen appeared in a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday claiming that whenever there was a conflict between the public good and what benefited Facebook, the company would opt for its own interests.
"Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety," Haugen said.
In his company memo, which he posted on Facebook, Zuckerberg downplayed these notions, pointing to all of the efforts the social media giant has made to combat misinformation.
"At the heart of these accusations is the idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true," Zuckerberg wrote. "The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content."
Fox Business has reached out to Facebook for further comment.
Haugen's testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection presented a wide-ranging condemnation of Facebook. She accused the company of failing to make changes to Instagram after internal research showed apparent harm to some teens and of being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.
She buttressed her accusations with tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in the company's civic integrity unit.
But she also offered thoughtful ideas about how Facebook's social media platforms could be made safer. Haugen laid responsibility for the company's profits-over-safety strategy right at the top with Zuckerberg. But she also expressed empathy for Facebook's dilemma.
Haugen, who says she joined the company in 2019 because "Facebook has the potential to bring out the best in us," said she didn't leak internal documents to a newspaper and then come before Congress in order to destroy the company or call for its breakup, a breakup that many consumer advocates and lawmakers of both parties have demanded.
"Facebook's products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy," Haugen said. "The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people."
"Congressional action is needed," she said. "They won't solve this crisis without your help."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.