Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress on Thursday not to blame social media companies for Americans being pitted against one another, saying their complaint is really with former President Trump and should be directed to him personally.
“I believe that the former president should be responsible for his words and that the people who broke the law should be responsible for their actions,” said Mr. Zuckerberg at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
Facebook booted Mr. Trump from their platforms in January after the riot at the U.S. Capitol and has not allowed him back on their platforms.
Mr. Zuckerberg said the problems afflicting the country predated Facebook and do not exist in other countries where social media platforms are popular.
“Some people say that the problem is that social networks are polarizing us but that’s not at all clear from the evidence or research,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Polarization was rising in America long before social networks were even invented and it’s falling or stable in many other countries where social networks are popular.”
Mr. Zuckerberg also addressed complaints that social media companies’ algorithms feed users content to make them angry because it’s good for their business and said such claims were “not accurate either.”
“I believe that the derision we see today is primarily the result of a political and media environment that drives Americans apart,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “And we need to reckon with that if we’re going to make progress.”
When asked later whether Facebook took responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, he declined to directly answer the question.
Corrected from an earlier version which contained a typo in a quote from Mr. Zuckerberg.