“Morally bankrupt pathological liars”: New Zealand’s privacy commissioner lays into Facebook

John Edwards, New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, didn’t hold back in his criticism of Facebook on a now-deleted Twitter thread.

Responding to an interview where Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told ABC that the company couldn’t commit to changes like adding a time delay to Facebook Live videos, Edwards tweeted that “Facebook cannot be trusted,” The Guardian reports.

“They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions,” he continued. “[They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm.”

“They #dontgiveazuck”.

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Edwards later deleted the tweets, explaining that they had resulted in “toxic and misinformed traffic.”

In the interview that prompted Edwards’ ire, Zuckerberg had explained why he wasn’t keen on the idea of Facebook Live videos having a time delay to prevent the livestreaming of harmful content. He argued that it was “bad actors” rather than bad technology, and said that any kind of delay would disrupt those looking to enjoy innocent group hangouts or birthday parties.

“One of the things that’s magical about livestreaming is that it’s bidirectional – you’re not just broadcasting, you’re communicating and people are commenting back,” the Facebook CEO said, arguing that a time delay would sever this connection.

In a later, more measured interview with RNZ, Edwards described Zuckerberg’s comments as “disingenuous” and noted that Facebook had refused to tell his office the quantity of murders, suicides and sexual assaults that had been live streamed on Facebook Live. “They simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us,” he said.

“This is a global problem,” he continued. “The events that were live streamed in Christchurch could happen anywhere in the world, and it’s a problem that governments need to come together and force the platforms to find a solution for.”

“They don’t have a great record of listening to me, but the collectivity of governments and regulators – and consumers I think – will be irresistible for them ultimately,” he concluded.

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