Facebook Boss, Mark Zuckerberg has notified the public on various roles his digital business has played so far in several areas of human endeavors.
Zuckerberg in a statement on Thursday noted that the community has created an avenue whereby users can now relate and do their business.
“We’re building new products and experiences that help people stay connected and business create economic opportunity…”
Read the full statement:
I just shared our community update and business results for the quarter. We’re building new products and experiences that help people stay connected and businesses create economic opportunity as we navigate these tough times. And with the US election just five days away, we remain focused on protecting the integrity of the democratic process and helping people make their voices heard. Here’s what I said on the call:
—We had another strong quarter as people and businesses continue to rely on our services to stay connected and create economic opportunity, especially during these tough times. Now 2.5 billion people around the world use one or more of our apps each day, more than 200 million businesses use our free tools, and there are more than 10 million active advertisers across our services. Most of these are small businesses, which otherwise would have a much harder time moving online and reaching customers during this pandemic — and that’s something that I’m really proud of.
Before I cover other topics, the election is of course top of mind for everyone right now, so I’ll start there. I’ve discussed our efforts many times on previous calls, but I want to take a few minutes to reiterate how far we have come since 2016.
Four years ago, our security teams were looking for traditional threats like hacking, but what we ended up seeing was something new — coordinated interference campaigns, using fake accounts, that tried to spread misinformation and discord. Since then, we’ve built the most advanced systems in the world to find and remove these threats, and it shows in the numbers. In the years since, we’ve taken down more than 100 networks, including from Russia, Iran and China – and we block millions of potentially abusive accounts every day. No other company has systems nearly as advanced.
We’ve also taken industry-leading steps to make ads transparent, so people know who’s trying to gain their support. Anyone who wants to run a political or social issue ad has to go through our authorization process first — and between March and September, we rejected ads 2.2 million times, before they could run, for trying to target the US without authorization. We also built the Ads Library, where you can see any ad that’s running on Facebook or Instagram, even if it’s not targeted to you. For political and social issue ads, you can see who paid for the ad and what audience the ad reached — making political advertising on Facebook more transparent than any other medium.
We’re very focused on voter suppression, working closely with experts in the space, including civil rights leaders — and I’m grateful for their guidance here. Our policies prohibit misrepresentations of when and how to vote and content meant to intimidate people into not showing up to polling places, like claiming that ICE will be there. And we recently expanded these policies to include implicit misrepresentations, like for example, claims that you’ll get Covid by voting in person. From March through mid-October, we removed more than 135,000 pieces of content in the US for breaking these rules.
These are all changes we’ve made in the last four years — and they’ve helped us protect the integrity of more than 200 different elections around the world, including in the EU, India and Indonesia. And they’ve been important for stopping abuse ahead of next week’s vote in the US. But 2020 has also brought new challenges.
Covid raises questions about how people will vote safely, which will lead to higher levels of voting by mail. I’m worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized, there is a risk of civil unrest across the country. Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we’ve done before. That’s why we’ve taken additional steps to help people register to vote however they’re comfortable, to clear up confusion about how this election will work, and reduce the chance of uncertainty and unrest.
It would take too long for me to cover everything we’ve done in detail, but I’d like to mention a few things:
First, we ran the largest voting information campaign in American history. We estimate we’ve helped 4.4 million people register, exceeding the goal that we set for ourselves this summer. We also estimate that in September, we helped 100,000 people sign up to be poll workers, and South Carolina saw 20% of their total sign-ups to-date over a single weekend that we ran a recruitment drive.
We’re also taking a number of additional precautionary steps:
As of this Tuesday, we’ve blocked new political and social issue ads from running the week ahead of Election Day and after the election. We’re doing this because while I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, in the final days of an election there may simply not be enough time to contest new claims.
If any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the final results are called, we’ll put a notification at the top of people’s Facebook and Instagram feeds letting them know the results aren’t final yet, and we’ll put an informational label on candidates’ posts saying the same.
We’re also attaching an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or any particular voting methods.
And when there is a projected winner, we’ll send people notifications letting them know and we’ll show them in the Voting Information Center we’ve been displaying at the top of our apps.
Finally, we’ve made a number of important content moderation decisions in recent weeks, including banning QAnon and Holocaust denial content, as well as rejecting ads that discourage vaccines. To be clear, this is not a shift in our underlying philosophy or strong support of free expression. Instead, it is a reflection of the increased risk of violence and unrest, and an increased risk of harm associated with vaccine misinformation as we near an approved Covid vaccine. Even the strongest free expression advocates don’t think you should be able to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater because they recognize your actions or speech should not be able to put people in imminent risk of physical harm. Our policies try to balance free expression and safety as well, and that’s what we’re doing here.
While next week will certainly be a test for Facebook, our systems have been tested in many elections of the last few years. Election integrity is and will be an ongoing challenge, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done here. I also know that our work doesn’t stop after November 3rd. So we will keep anticipating new threats, evolving our approach, and fighting to protect the integrity of the democratic process and the right of people to make their voices heard around the world.
Now, with that all said I want to spend the rest of our time talking about our product work.
We’re making significant investments in hiring to develop a range of new products across the spectrum — from messaging to Reels, to our commerce efforts, to our longer term AR and VR platform work through Facebook Reality Labs. Dave will share more on the scope of those investments in just a few minutes. While we face intense competition in every area of what we do, I’m proud of the products that we keep delivering for our community.
First, on messaging. Private messaging continues to be one of the fastest-growing forms of communication, now with roughly 100 billion messages exchanged every day on WhatsApp alone. But these conversations are still often fragmented across different apps, and people tell us they want to be able to use the app they like best to reach everyone who they want to message. To address this, we’ve been working on a long-term infrastructure project to let people message across apps, and we’ve now started rolling out an update to Instagram that brings the best features from Messenger and creates a better messaging experience across both apps and early feedback has been positive so far.
This quarter we also expanded Reels — a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos. People have always come to Instagram to express themselves and be entertained — and the community has been telling us they want a way to make and watch short-form videos for a while now. The early results make me quite optimistic here. I also want to say I’ve been impressed by the AR effects that have been built by over 400,000 creators on our AR platform. There’s obviously a lot of competition in this space as well, but I think we’re going to bring something new and higher quality that delivers value for creators and people who want to watch this content.
This quarter we also took major steps forward in building the next computing platform. We launched Quest 2, our most advanced virtual reality headset, right in time for the holidays. It delivers a real sense of presence — like you’re right there with another person or in another place — and we’ve worked to make it accessible to more people. It’s lighter, faster, has a sharper screen, and a new price point of just $300. Pre-orders have outpaced the original Quest pre-orders by more than 5x and have surpassed our expectations.
We’re also laying the foundation for AR glasses, which will be the holy grail of delivering a sense of presence while not taking you away from the physical world. One day you’ll be able to sit down for dinner with your parents even if they’re on the other side of the country, or look up directions without having to take out your phone and take yourself out of the moment. We’re working on the building blocks for true consumer AR glasses, and in the meantime, we’re partnering with Luxottica — the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley — to build our first smart glasses which will launch sometime next year.
Supporting small businesses also continues to be a major focus for us and it’s more important now than ever. Sheryl is going to cover this in more detail shortly, but I want to call out a few new products that we’ve shipped. The Facebook Shop tab gives people a dedicated place to shop and find products; the Facebook Small Business Suite lets businesses easily manage their presence across our apps; and Paid Online Events lets businesses, creators and educators make money by live-streaming classes, talks and other events. In WhatsApp, we just announced how we’re going to make it easier for people to buy products directly within a chat, and integrating WhatsApp business features with Facebook Shops so that way, when a small business sets up a shop, they will be able to establish a commercial presence across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all at the same time.
We continue to see how personalized advertising is helping small businesses find customers, grow their businesses, and create jobs. I continue to believe that we need new regulation that allows for personalized, relevant ads while protecting people’s data and privacy, and I worry that some proposals, especially in the EU, and actions planned by platform companies like Apple, could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond.
This is one of the policy questions that we’ll need to continue showing up and engaging on for the future of the internet. There are very different visions of that future held in different parts of the world. Some are motivated by different values, and others by strategic advantage. We’re going to have to stand up strongly for our vision of an internet where every individual can have access to free services and every small business can have access to the same kinds of tools to grow and create jobs that the big companies have.
I’m grateful to everyone at Facebook and all of our partners who are working to making this vision a reality. I’m proud of all the new products and experiences we’ve been able to deliver this year. And as always, thank you for being on this journey with us.