On Saturday evening, Mark Zuckerberg publicly asked for forgiveness for any division Facebook had caused in American society. Zuckerberg, 33, asked pardon for his sins as part of Yom Kippur.
“Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for our mistakes,” he wrote on his Facebook profile as an explanation for the post.
“For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better,” he said.
He then got more specific, “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better. May we all be better in the year ahead, and may you all be inscribed in the book of life.”
When Zuckerberg writes about Facebook causing division, he is presumably referring to the ads run on his website that were specifically designed to cause conflict. They also seemingly interfered with the 2016 election.
As part of working to do better, Facebook has agreed to hand over 3,000 ads purchased by so-called Russian trolls to Congressional investigators on Monday. This is “part of their ongoing role in lawmakers probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” said CBS.
Zuckerberg explained his decision in a live video feed on his Facebook page.
"I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity," he said. "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy—that's not what we stand for."
CBS News reported that one of the ads was a Black Lives Matter ad. It appeared on Facebook in late 2015 or early 2016.
“The ad could be seen in two ways—as supportive of Black Lives Matter, but also as a portrayal of the group as threatening to some residents of Baltimore and Ferguson. The goal was to sow discord,” reported the news agency.
In addition to handing the ads over to Congress, Facebook is working to "improve review and enforcement of ads and ad accounts." They hope to do this by requiring advertisements to be more transparent, strengthening their response to improper ads, and increasing requirements for authenticity.
"We care deeply about the integrity of elections around the world. We take responsibility for what happens on our platform and we will do everything we can [to] keep our community safe from interference," wrote Facebook in their statement released on Monday.
While many may not agree with Zuckerberg’s politics, his appeal for forgiveness is commendable. May we all ask for forgiveness from all those we have hurt and, moving forward, may we all try to do better.
In other news, as you probably know, there was a terrible shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Here are the stories of the victims.