Two Hours of Leaked Audio Tapes Show a Different Side of Mark Zuckerberg

In a Q&A session with Facebook employees, Zuckerberg rallies them against critics, competitors, and the U.S. government.
Fabienne Lang
Mark ZuckerbergFLDphotos/iStock

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has spoken at a number of conferences and hearings. 

Now, The Verge has shared a leaked audio recording of a Q&A session between Facebook employees and Zuckerberg. And its two hours long. 

In the Q&A, Zuckerberg is more candid than during open and public hearings and can be heard rallying his employees to join him against critics, competitors, and even the U.S. government. 


Why did the Q&A take place?

Facebook has undergone a lot of scrutiny in recent years and months. In July, the company accepted a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues. Furthermore, they settled another case, this time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in which they agreed to pay $100 million in fines. 

All of this happened and still Facebook reported good-as-gold quarterly earnings at the end of July, pushing its stock price up. 

However, behind closed doors, the company was concerned.

Some 2020 presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, called for Facebook to disband. 

Facebook's own cryptocurrency, Libra, hit hard times as global regulators were preoccupied that it might destabilize the global financial system.

So, Facebook's employees had questions for the CEO, such as "Why had the CEO declined multiple requests to appear at governments hearings in Europe?"

What happened during the Q&A?

Zuckerberg agreed to two Q&A sessions with his employees back in July this year, during which The Verge obtained two hours worth of audio recordings.

You can read some of the topics and answers below, directly quoted from the audio recordings shared by The Verge.

During the session, Zuckerberg jokes regularly that if he were not completely in control of the company, he would have been fired years ago. To which his employees laugh genially to. 

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In answering the question as to why he has refused to attend European-held hearings, Zuckerberg said, "I'm not going to go to every single hearing around the world. A lot of different people want to do that. When the issues came up last year around Cambridge Analytica, I did hearings in the US. I did hearings in the EU. It just doesn't really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up."

On the topic of Facebook being broken up, Zuckerberg said: "You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies ... if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah."

He continued, "I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."

Two Hours of Leaked Audio Tapes Show a Different Side of Mark Zuckerberg
Libra, Facebook's cryptocurrency. Source: geralt/Pixabay

When asked about Libra's rollout, "The public things, I think, tend to be a little more dramatic. But a bigger part of it is private engagement with regulators around the world, and those, I think, often, are more substantive and less dramatic."

This Q&A offers a different perspective on some potent questions Facebook, and Zuckerberg, face today. 

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