Mark Zuckerberg has become more focused on the metaverse than election integrity, sources told NYT.
Meta has reduced its core election team, which no longer meets with Zuckerberg personally, the sources said.
Meta put great emphasis on election security in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Mark Zuckerberg’s intense focus on the metaverse has replaced securing elections as the Meta CEO’s top concern, four Meta employees with knowledge of the situation told The New York Times.
Zuckerberg has been public with his desire to transform Meta – formerly known as Facebook – into a metaverse company, plowing billions of dollars into developing metaverse technology.
The New York Times reports Meta’s core election team has shrunk significantly since 2020. With the US midterms approaching, a reduced election team at Meta could mean less enforcement against misinformation.
Whereas it used to comprise over 300 people, now 60 people spend their time focused on election security and some additional employees divide their time between elections and other projects, sources told The Times.
While the election team used to meet with Zuckerberg himself on weekly basis, it now reports to Meta’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg, The Times reported.
Zuckerberg does still receive reports from the election team, the sources added.
A Meta spokesperson told Insider it’s not accurate that Meta has 60 people working on elections, saying the company has hundreds of people across multiple teams focused on election work.
“We’ve taken a comprehensive approach to how elections play out on our platforms since before the US 2020 elections and through the dozens of global elections since then,” the spokesperson said.
“Nick Clegg has led this work for the company for many years, which is why Mark promoted him earlier this year to President, Global Affairs so he can continue leading on the most complex issues we face, including protecting elections,” the spokesperson added.
Clegg was promoted in February, and Zuckerberg said at the time Clegg’s new role meant he would: “lead our company on all our policy matters, including how we interact with governments as they consider adopting new policies and regulations.”
Facebook placed heavy emphasis around election integrity on its platforms in the run-up to the 2020 election, with two top executives getting 110% bonuses in 2021 in part due to their “election integrity efforts in connection with the US 2020 elections.”
Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan also funneled $ 300 million of their personal fortune towards building safe voting infrastructure for the 2020 election.
The company is still haunted by the 2016 presidential election, after it was found that Russian state operatives had used the platform to attempt to manipulate the election.
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