The company decided to air the usually private weekly Q&A session after the Verge published transcripts from an earlier town hall, in which Zuckerberg expressed concern about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up the company if she were elected president.
Zuckerberg kicked off the session Thursday by saying that many internally were shocked by the leak but that he stands by those comments. COO Sheryl Sandberg also made a brief appearance.
The hour-long session touched on topics such as the impact of end-to-end encryption, cracking down on child exploitation and disinformation, working remotely and even Facebook Dating.
“Let’s try not to antagonize her further,” Zuckerberg said of Warren when an employee asked the chief executive how he could stay impartial on the candidate.
He went on to say Facebook would be impartial because the company would not value its own policy outcomes over the health of civic discourse and people’s ability to express their opinions.
“I would rather have someone get elected, even if I disagree with them on everything — which I don’t even think is the case here — than not give them the ability to say what they think,” he said.
On the topic of his wealth, he added that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have dedicated to giving away most of their money during their lifetimes, something he admitted some don’t think is enough.
The CEO also addressed criticisms of Facebook’s plans to add end-to-end encryption to all its messaging products, a security measure that limits anyone other than the sender and recipient from being able to read the messages.
The United States joined Britain and Australia in calling on Facebook to reverse its plans to add end-to-end encryption to its messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. Critics claim the added layer of security, without a back door for governments, will make it harder for law enforcement to investigate crimes by accessing messages. Some critics say will make it harder to catch people trading child pornography.
“When we were deciding to go to end-to-end encryption across the different apps … one of the things that just weighed the most heavily on me is ‘How do we make sure we do a good job on this?’” he said. “What we’ve basically figured out is that often, it’s not looking at the content that’s most important, it’s looking at the patterns of activity, and you can do that even in encrypted systems.”
Correction: Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook. An earlier version of this article called her CFO.