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Former Facebook exec: I didn’t mean social networking is all bad

During a recent talk at Stanford, Chamath Palihapitiya, the early Facebook executive who now runs venture capital firm Social Capital, spoke of the dangers of social networks—such as their ability to efficiently spread false information—and said that he felt “tremendous guilt” for his role in the medium’s rise. Facebook took his comments personally enough that it issued a statement pointing out that he left the company more than six years ago.

Today at CB Insights’ A-ha conference in San Francisco, in a conversation with Bloomberg’s Mark Milian, Palihapitiya didn’t backpedal on his essential point—but he did clarify that he didn’t mean social networking was all bad, and that he wasn’t targeting Facebook specifically. “We’re at a point where this first chapter has been mostly overwhelmingly good and now we have to pick apart the problems and fix them for the future,” he said.

Palihapitiya added that he learned something from the way his initial take was interpreted as apocalyptic rather than balanced. “I actually do for the most part say what other people are thinking,” he said. “But I have to do it in a more constructive way.”HM