- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that he “comes across as robotic” when he speaks and appears in public.
- Speaking to NBC News, Zuckerberg said: “Historically, I’ve had a very hard time expressing myself,” and added that expressing himself is something he “needs to get better at in running [Facebook].”
- Critics sometimes portray Zuckerberg as a borg, in part because the CEO can come across as stilted and rehearsed when he speaks.
- The 35-year-old’s comments come at a challenging time for Facebook, with its potential impact on the 2020 US elections coming under increasing scrutiny.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted he “comes across as robotic.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Lester Holt of NBC News on Monday, Zuckerberg was asked if he was “the best communicator for Facebook.”
In reply, the Facebook chief said: “Historically, I’ve had a very hard time expressing myself. I just come across as robotic. This is one of the things that… I’m growing up, I need to get better at, in running this company.”
The Facebook CEO has long been mocked for his seemingly stilted and rehearsed manner of speaking.
Last April, SNL parodied the Facebook CEO in a comedy skit, portraying him as a robot that needed booting up. Observers described Zuckerberg’s “dead-eyed” manner during a Christmas video shot at his house in December 2016.
And type “Mark Zuckerberg” into YouTube’s search box, and “Mark Zuckerberg robot” shows up as the second result.
- YouTube/Business Insider
The Facebook CEO added during the interview that he had been in the public eye since the age of 19, and that he had learned people say “lots of false things about you”, although he didn’t go detail.
He also used the spot to reveal a number of initiatives aimed at curbing misinformation on Facebook ahead of the 2020 US presidential election.
These initiatives include the labelling of state-controlled media outlets; flagging the identity of the organisations and owners that run pages on the platform; and highlighting content that has been deemed false by independent fact-checkers.
Discussing Facebook’s impact on the 2016 election, Zuckerberg said: “We were looking for more traditional threats like hacking, but we weren’t looking for these kind of co-ordinated information campaigns that now we’re aware of.”
The social media giant is facing scrutiny on a number of fronts at present, particularly over its treatment of political adverts believed to contain false information.
Earlier this month, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign called on Facebook to remove an ad from President Trump’s campaign which it said contained false information, but Facebook has not done so at the time of writing.
When NBC’s Holt asked if Facebook was giving politicians a “green light” to lie, Zuckerberg insisted it wasn’t. He said: “No. Look – I believe that it is important for people to be able to hear and see what politicians are saying; that speech will be heavily scrutinized by other journalists; by other people.”
He added: “I believe that it’s important to give people a voice, and I think ads can be an important part of a voice, especially if you’re a challenger candidate, or a local candidate who might not otherwise be convened by the media. Removing political ads favors incumbents and whoever the media chooses to cover.”