Since her defeat in the 2016 election, speculation has churned about Hillary Clinton and what she set her mind to after losing a second run for the U.S. presidency.
On Friday, Clinton indicated that a dream job of hers, at least in the private sector, would be to run a high-profile company: Facebook.
Speaking at Harvard University before receiving an award on Friday, Clinton was asked a hypothetical question by moderator Maura Healey, a fellow Democrat and attorney general of Massachusetts: If Clinton could be chief executive of any company right now, which company would she choose?
“Facebook,” Clinton said without hesitating, as she and Healey paused to laugh with the audience.
Clinton said that she would want to be in charge of the social media giant because of the immense power it has over the world’s flow of information.
“It’s the biggest news platform in the world,” she said. “We can listen to really brilliant, experienced writers like David Ignatius and try to keep up with the news, but most people in our country get their news, true or not, from Facebook.”
Ignatius is a Washington Post columnist.
Since the 2016 election, Facebook and other tech companies like Google and Twitter have been the focus of intense criticism for the role they played in spreading misinformation and Russian state propaganda during the 2016 election, raising questions about unchecked political advertising and dummy accounts on those platforms. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia engaged in an extensive campaign to influence the presidential election that involved, in part, propaganda shared on social media.
And unlike Google and Twitter, Facebook has been singled out for privacy-related concerns after the disclosure that a data analytics firm contract by the Trump campaign improperly obtained the personal information of millions of Facebook users. The company has announced policy changes aimed at eradicating false information, providing more transparency about political advertisements and tightening privacy controls.
Clinton referred to some these issues as the “unexpected consequences of their business model.”
“And I, for one, hope that they get it right, because it really is critical to our democracy that people get accurate information on which to make decisions,” she said.
The fact that Clinton made her pronouncement at a Harvard event was perhaps not a coincidence; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously started the social network from his dorm room at Harvard, before dropping out to develop the site.
Clinton's approximately half-hour conversation with Healey touched on topics like her childhood, challenges facing the country, her optimism about the future and her time at the State Department. Clinton said she grew up getting her information from Life magazine.