The Pragmatic Mark Zuckerberg

David Kennedy of LinkedIn reached out to us to indicate that he’d contacted Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s head of product. Both sides announced this morning that Adam had agreed to testify before Congress about social media’s effect on society.

Good morning, Adam. Did you have dinner with Zuckerberg earlier this week? If so, how did it go?

I had dinner with Mark. A few people were there. A bunch of journalists were there. No actual legislators were there. So it was a lot of media people, all those big, famous voices in my job. But it was pretty relaxed. He was very nice, funny, and engaging. We had a lot of beer, and I think we got to know each other well.

I have no knowledge about what you’ll be testifying about, but I am glad you have the opportunity to share your experience with Congress. I hope you are able to share your perspectives. — David Kennedy (@davidkennedy) May 19, 2019

In regards to your decision to test Instagram for real-time political ads, how do you respond to critics who say it may encourage too much brand manipulation?

It’s a balance. We want the audience to be smart and healthy and navigate this through authentic conversations. It’s really important to us that people on Instagram can have civil conversations and feel like they’re important and connected to issues. At the same time, I think that in terms of our mission and our values, we are a corporation that makes people connect. We want to support brands and we want to be there for people to engage in healthy conversations around our service.

It’s hard to say what this will lead to, but I hope the intention is that you can mitigate fear among voters with authentic, authentic content.

Why was Facebook’s timeline so far behind the TV schedule in terms of the flow of news?

First off, television plays a really huge role in our lives and it’s not like we’re sitting on our couch going, “Oh, I wanna watch some funny TV!” We’re glued to our devices for the entirety of the day. So I know that to some extent there is something here that is so powerful that I don’t want to flip to an un-influenced agenda. I don’t want to let television take control of my day and not have a voice in those. For me, I’ve got to give my audience a voice. So we understand from the data that a third of our content is not based on traditional news channels and so we’re making sure that people have the content to understand what’s happening around them. We know a lot about what people are watching — we’re very conscious of that. But the news and our choices don’t equate the news versus politics and not having some sort of standpoint of how you consume that. We’re making those choices based on the audience, our product and the platform.

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