Facebook has learned from the lessons and the mistakes in the past, which prepared the tech giant to deal with the crisis that is caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, on Wednesday.
“Some of the troubles we had and some of the mistakes we made over the past years, we worked so hard to correct those and set ourselves up, they’re serving us well,” Sandberg said on the Skim’d from The Couch podcast.
The tech giants have been subjected to criticisms and backlash in the last few years for its failure to police its system from misinformation campaigns as well its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The scandal, which happened in late 2015, involves the UK PR firm, which allegedly illegally used data scraped from Facebook to run targeted campaigns in an effort to elect President Donald Trump.
Now, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect governments and economies around the world, Sandberg said it is prepared to take action and is doing its best to respond as quickly as possible.
“We have felt very much under siege, not quite at this level, but knowing that we had a lot to chew very quickly for the last couple of years,” Sandberg said. “And again, I think the pace at which we’ve been working is serving us well during this period.”
For the past few months, Facebook has already taken some steps to contribute to the global response against COVID-19. Notably, the tech company has met with the World Health Organization and tech leaders to discuss what solutions Silicon Valley can offer. They have also launched a crackdown on ads selling critical medical supplies like masks, alcohols, and other personal protective equipment. The company also set up a $100 million program to help small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
“When you think about harmful misinformation, you know years ago we didn’t have the policies to take that information down,” she said. “We learned the hard way that we needed that. We had that in place when COVID-19 came around.”