Facebook’s Director of Public Policy meets with DIS students

How is Facebook tackling the steep competition from YouTube and others? What is Facebook doing to ensure user data privacy? And what is Mark Zuckerberg really like? Last week, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy in the Nordics, Central & Eastern Europe, and Russia Thomas Myrup Kristensen met with DIS students from the Communication, Gender Studies, and International Business programs for a frank discussion about Facebook’s current burning issues.

Using Denmark as an example to illustrate how one culture’s norms can clash with others, Thomas spoke about the challenges and opportunities a global organization like Facebook faces It is an issue that was debated in Denmark this past fall after an author posted a photo of naked hippies from his book about the 1970s. The photo was removed by Facebook from the author’s Facebook page, and the the author was temporarily banned from Facebook. Thomas explained that the photo had been flagged by another user who was offended by the nudity user. Every day, 350 million new photos are uploaded to Facebook and Facebook only reviews photos if another user has flagged them, at which point it makes a decision to keep or delete them. “Freedom of expression comes very close to our heart,” Thomas said, and in order to best create a global social media platform so that ‘local norms do not break the global conversation,’Facebook depends primarily on community policing to navigate such a large, diverse audience.

For the second half of the presentation, the floor was open for questions. Thomas gave students a deeper look behind the scenes at Facebook by sharing its ‘privacy by design’ model, the use of advertising, and thoughts on the newsfeed and data retention.