Reid Hoffman’s Criticism of Facebook Drew Quick Reply From Zuckerberg
(Bloomberg) -- When early Facebook Inc. investor Reid Hoffman criticized the company in a televised interview this month, he heard immediately from Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, said he was concerned about the remarks, Hoffman said Tuesday in a new interview with Emily Chang for the Bloomberg Live Equality Summit. It was the first time Hoffman had heard from Zuckerberg since before Facebook’s whistle-blower scandal began this year.
“To his credit, he reached out immediately after our broadcast,” Hoffman said. “He said, ‘Look, I’m concerned. Why did you say the things that you said? Let’s engage in it. Let me inform you more about what we’re doing.’”
In the earlier interview on Oct. 13 with Bloomberg Television, Hoffman told Chang that Facebook had lost people’s trust “for good reasons” and wasn’t responding well to whistle-blower claims that the social-media giant prioritizes profit over user safety. “I’m disappointed,” he said at the time.
He also called on Facebook to be more transparent -- something Zuckerberg acknowledged, Hoffman said Tuesday. “Look, I’m supportive,” Hoffman said, “of him as a learning person and CEO.”
Facebook declined to comment.
The company has been engulfed in controversy ever since a trove of internal documents were shared with media and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Frances Haugen, a former employee. She also testified this month before a panel of the Senate Commerce Committee. At the hearing, she slammed Facebook for not prioritizing the well-being of its users over profits. Zuckerberg has denied the characterizations, saying they’re “just not true.”
Hoffman, a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners and a co-founder of LinkedIn, has offered his help in dealing with the crisis. He doesn’t believe Facebook should be broken up -- a remedy some lawmakers have proposed -- and said Tuesday that Zuckerberg shouldn’t step down as CEO.
“He is smart and committed,” Hoffman said. “I look forward to what that path looks like.”
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