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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads a conversation on free expression at Georgetown University on Oct. 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads a conversation on free expression at Georgetown University on Oct. 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Facebook/TNS)

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg continued with his recent public openness campaign on Monday when he reiterated what he said was the social-media giant's commitment to free expression amid criticism about his company's role in political campaigns.

"I get that a lot of people are angry at us," Zuckerberg said in an interview with NBC News. "Part of growing up for me has just been realizing that it is more important to be understood than it is to be liked."

Zuckerberg addressed several topics related the concept of free speech, and if Facebook should play a more-active role in determining the degree of truth behind political ads, in particular. Facebook has be taken to task for what some believe is it's allowing of political candidates to run ads with claims that might be false.

"I believe that it is important for people to be able to hear and see what politicians are saying," Zuckerberg said. "I think that when they do that, that speech will be heavily scrutinized by other journalists, by other people."

Zuckerberg's comments were from an interview that he did with NBC. Parts of the interview were shown on the "Today" show Monday morning, and the entire interview was scheduled to air on the "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" on Monday evening.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook was caught on its "back foot" with regards to Russia launching its interference campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but that the company was increasing its efforts to reduce the chance that such events will take place as the run up to the 2020 election continues.

"In the last year, we've disrupted more than 50 different campaigns from different nation states trying to interfere in elections," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg's latest public statements come just days after he gave a speech at Georgetown University in which he spoke broadly about free expression. Among his comments at Georgetown, Zuckerberg said, "I don't think it's right for a private company to censor politicians, or the news, in a democracy," and "if content is newsworthy, we won't take it down if it would otherwise conflict with our standards."

Zuckerberg is also scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday to talk about the Facebook's plans for the development of its Libra cryptocurrency. Libra has been the subject of widespread controversy due to several matters related to how it would be used within the global financial system.

Visit The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com

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