Monday on CBS This Morning, Gayle King aired the first half of a two-part interview she did with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan — the first joint television interview the couple has ever done. And even though it was supposed to be about the fourth anniversary of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Gayle couldn't help but but veer into some more urgent territory.
Zuckerberg and Chan wanted to celebrate four years of their not-non-profit, which they established in December 2015 in conjunction with the birth of their first child, Max. But Ms. King had some other things in mind for Part One of the interview — the second half of which airs on Tuesday morning and contains footage shot at their home in Palo Alto.
"The main thing now that people are talking about are the political ads — that you don't want to take down political ads that... contain false information," King says.
"What I believe is that in a democracy, it's really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments," Zuckerberg replies, in a now familiar line of defense. "And, you know, I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."
King points out that a group of 250+ Facebook employees signed a petition asking the company to reverse its stance, echoing some of what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently said about how political candidates shouldn't be able to pay for the kind of reach and micro-targeting of voters that social media now allows. Facebook "allows politicians to weaponize our platform," the letter read, "by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
To this, Zuckerberg simply says, "Well, this is a clearly a very complex issue, and a lot of people have — have a lot of different opinions. At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying."
King also pressed Zuckerberg on his formerly secret private dinner with President and Melania Trump and Facebook board member Peter Thiel.
"What was the nature of the meeting? Can you say?" King asks.
Zuckerberg basically dodges this too, saying, "Sure. I mean... we talked about a number of things that were — that were on his mind. And — and some of the topics that you'd read about in the news around — around our work."
King tells Zuck that the "optics weren't good" for the undisclosed meeting, and asks if Trump lobbied him in any way on the political ad issue, or any other issue.
"No. I mean, I don't think that that's... I think some of the stuff that people talk about or think gets discussed and these discussions are not really... how that works," Zuckerberg said, completely red in the face. "I also want to respect that it was a private dinner and... private discussion."
Right-o! Nothing to see here, folks.
Chan jumps in to try to save things, saying that she and Mark "talk about these issues together," and she says, "I also have the lens of being an educator and pediatrician that's worked deeply with families and individuals, and all types of communities. And when I zoom out, I also see that these are societal problems. These are not problems that one person, one company, can fix on their own."
Meanwhile, speaking of companies with problems, 60 Minutes aired a segment Sunday night all about YouTube and how it's been trying to tame the chaos on its platform in the last few years. The segment revealed that YouTube has pulled down around 300 ads from the Trump campaign for violations of its policies, and meanwhile this is something Facebook refuses to do.
See Part 1 of Gayle King's interview with Zuckerberg and Chan below. Part 2 will air tomorrow and will focus more on the socially, scientifically, and politically focused Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.