Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded directly to Donald Trump on Wednesday after the president claimed “Facebook was always anti-Trump.”
“Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump,” Zuckerberg said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.”
At the same time, Zuckerberg said he regrets his earlier comments dismissing the idea that “fake news on Facebook” shaped the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it,” he said.
His comments, made at a conference in November, have echoed since as controversy has grown over Facebook’s massive influence.
“This is too important an issue to be dismissive,” he wrote. “But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact — from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote — played a far bigger role in this election.”
Facebook is facing increased scrutiny over the election. The company said last week it would give Congress information about 3,000 ads that ran in the U.S. it sold to Russian-linked accounts.
CNN reported Wednesday that Facebook ads bought by Russians during the campaign referenced Black Lives Matter and was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.
In April, the company released a paper describing “information operations” during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and provided details on how people could use Facebook to manipulate public opinion.
Facebook said Wednesday that it had removed “tens of thousands” of fake accounts in Germany before last weekend’s election.
In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg said Facebook gave more people a voice in the 2016 election. He noted that it launched “get out the vote” efforts to get 2 million people to register.
The CEO also said electoral campaigns spent hundreds of millions on advertising to spread their messages, which, Zuckerberg said, is “1000x more than any problematic ads we’ve found.