Facebook Co-Founder Responds to Repeated Questions on Russian Meddling: 'I Haven't Been at the Company in Over a Decade'

February 21, 2018

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes acknowledged Wednesday he hasn't worked at the social media giant for over a decade while responding to questions of how Facebook should combat future Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Hughes was brought onto the show to discuss his new book, Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn, but co-host Mika Brzezinski used the first half of the interview to discuss Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

"Do you think that Facebook really understands fully the platform its created, how it was used and how it was abused to undermine sort of the norms of our democracy?" Brzezinski asked.

Hughes, the co-chair of the Economic Security Project, said the social media website is experiencing a "come to Jesus moment" and that the website was dedicated to connecting friends, seeing fun videos and sharing photos of newborn babies during the early years. He went on to say Facebook is now a platform for millions of people to debate politics, making it susceptible to outside influence.

"So given that, do you think– We're waiting to see what they do," Brzezinski asked of Facebook. "Do you think they should try and combat this problem alone, on their own, in private?"

Hughes said he thinks Facebook is combatting this problem publicly, specifically noting the company is collaborating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and talking publicly about some of the changes it is making, including changes to newsfeed algorithms.

"Listen, I don't know if any of this stuff is going to work. I haven't been at the company in over a decade. However, I do think that they are steps in the right direction and most importantly, the sense of gravity of really understanding the role that Facebook plays in our democracy," Hughes said.

In addition to his short stint at Facebook, Hughes is known for contributing to the crash of the The New Republic, a liberal magazine, after he purchased a majority stake in the company.

He was also a major financial backer of his husband's Democratic congressional campaign in 2014, which resulted in Sean Eldridge (D.) losing by 30 points to then-Rep. Chris Gibson (R., N.Y.).