On Monday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the latest wave of coverage which was based on a trove of leaked documents by kicking off Facebook’s quarterly earnings call.
“Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that we are seeing a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company,” Zuckerberg said. “The reality is that we have an open culture that encourages discussion and research on our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us.”
In the 17-year history of social media, this was the biggest crisis that ever took place and the company’s results come amid such crisis. The Wall Street Journal’s series named “Facebook Files” informed that the Whistleblower Frances Haugen has leaked almost tens of thousands of pages of internal documents. And on Monday, she’ll have a flood of additional news coverage by a consortium of 17 US news organizations, as well as hearings with US and UK lawmakers.
The documents provide the most in-depth look yet at many of Facebook’s most pressing issues, including the company’s struggles to regulate hate speech and misinformation, the use of its platform by human traffickers, and research on the harms to children.
Facebook has reacted angrily to many of the reports, claiming that they are inaccurate and misrepresent its research and actions. Following Haugen’s Senate hearing earlier this month, Zuckerberg issued a statement in which he attempted to discredit the whistleblower. Nonetheless, another former Facebook employee anonymously filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, alleging allegations similar to Haugen’s.
Despite the negative press, the company reminded investors on Monday that it is still a profitable machine.
For the three months ending in September, Facebook reported revenue of $29 billion, up 35% from the same time last year. Profit was nearly $9.2 billion, up 17% from the previous year. During the third quarter, the number of people who used Facebook’s apps increased by 12% year over year, to nearly 3.6 billion.