Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg says he hopes Sandberg stays on as COO

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg threw support behind his embattled second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday and said he hoped he gets to work with her for decades more.

Zuckerberg, under fire from users, employees and shareholders after a series of scandals, was asked in an interview with CNN whether he could "definitively say" that Sandberg will stay in her current role as Facebook's chief operating officer.

"Yeah, look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest issues that we have," Zuckerberg told CNN in the interview broadcast Tuesday night.

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UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 05: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, testify during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on the influence of foreign operations on social media on September 5, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 05: Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, off camera, testify during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Dirksen Building where they testified on the influence of foreign operations on social media on September 5, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 05: Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and Jack Dorsey, off camera, Twitter CEO, arrive for a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Dirksen Building where they testified on the influence of foreign operations on social media on September 5, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., from left, Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships and platform marketing at Facebook Inc. and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., walk the grounds after the morning session at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The 35th annual Allen & Co. conference gathers many of America's wealthiest and most powerful people in media, technology, and sports. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., from left, Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships and platform marketing at Facebook Inc. and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., walk the grounds after the morning session at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The 35th annual Allen & Co. conference gathers many of America's wealthiest and most powerful people in media, technology, and sports. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08: Sheryl Sandberg addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 8: Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, speaks on a panel during the 2018 United States Conference of Mayors at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston on June 8, 2018. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg takes the stage during a session on how communities can use technology to grow and thrive at the U.S. Conference Of Mayors on June 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08: Sheryl Sandberg Addresses U.S. Conference Of Mayors on June 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 08: Sheryl Sandberg delivers the commencement address at at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commencement Exercises on June 8, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 08: MIT President Leo Rafael Reif and Sheryl Sandberg on stage at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commencement Exercises on June 8, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 01: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose, California. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered the opening keynote to the FB Developer conference that runs through May 2. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS, Dyllan McGee and Co-Founder & President, Lean In Rachel Thomas attend The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MAKERS)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets with Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg during the 'Choose France' summit at the Chateau de Versailles, near Paris, on January 22, 2018. President Emmanuel Macron's campaign for a 'French Renaissance' kicked into overdrive on January 22 as his government welcomed 140 multinational business leaders before this week's jamboree of the rich and powerful in Davos. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thibault Camus (Photo credit should read THIBAULT CAMUS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg (L) arrive to attend a meeting with the French President during the 'Choose France' summit at the Chateau de Versailles, near Paris, on January 22, 2018. President Emmanuel Macron's campaign for a 'French Renaissance' kicked into overdrive on January 22 as his government welcomed 140 multinational business leaders before this week's jamboree of the rich and powerful in Davos. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thibault Camus (Photo credit should read THIBAULT CAMUS/AFP/Getty Images)
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Danang, Vietnam, on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are among 21 leaders meeting in Vietnam this week for the APEC summit. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) talks with the president of the German Automobile Industry Association (VdA) Matthias Wissmann (2ndR) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg (R) before giving a speech to inaugurate the Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on September 14, 2017. Chancellor Angela Merkel will formally open the Frankfurt car show on Thursday, where she will face a delicate balancing act between defending millions of duped diesel owners without alienating Germany's most powerful industry. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Frank Rumpenhorst / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read FRANK RUMPENHORST/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 14: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks at the opening event at the 2017 IAA Frankfurt Auto Show on September 14, 2017 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The Frankfurt Auto Show is taking place during a turbulent period for the auto industry. Leading companies have been rocked by the self-inflicted diesel emissions scandal. At the same time the industry is on the verge of a new era as automakers commit themselves more and more to a future that will one day be dominated by electric cars. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., walks the grounds after the morning session during the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 13, 2017. The 34th annual Allen & Co. conference gathers many of America's wealthiest and most powerful people in media, technology, and sports. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 28: Mindy Cassel, Sheryl Sandberg and Claude Grubair attend Sheryl Sandberg new book 'Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy' Presented in collaboration with Miami Book Fair and Books and Books at Miami Dade College Wolfson-Chapman Conference Center on June 28, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 28: Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Ana Veciana-Suarez about her new book 'Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy' presented in collaboration with Miami Book Fair and Books and Books at Miami Dade College Wolfson-Chapman Conference Center on June 28, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 22: Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg attends the Cannes Lions Festival 2017 on June 22, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)
NEW YORK - APRIL 24: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Allison Janney, Sheryl Sandberg, Marty Stuart during Monday's 4/24/20 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Sheryl Sandberg is a guest on 'Good Morning America,' Monday, April 24, 2017 airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) ROBIN ROBERTS, SHERYL SANDBERG
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg visits 92nd Street Y on April 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks on stage at The 2017 MAKERS Conference at Terranea Resort and Spa on February 7, 2017 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), left, and Sheryl Sandberg, billionaire and chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., react during a panel session during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 17 - 20. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 17: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivers a speech in order to announce that Facebook will hold a plan to support start-ups at the future startup incubator Station F, a project of which Xavier Niel (not pictured) is the founder on January 17, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Vincent Isore/IP3/Getty Images)
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., gestures as she speaks during a news conference inside Station F, a mega-campus for startups located inside a former freight railway depot, in Paris, France, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Facebook Inc. will open a startup incubator at Paris's soon-to-debut entrepreneur campus created by billionaire Xavier Niel, as Sandberg vows to keep investing in France. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: (L to R) Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, Larry Page, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google), Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, Vice President-elect Mike Pence listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of technology executives at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City. This is the first major meeting between President-elect Trump and technology industry leaders. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: (L to R) Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, speaks as Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump listen during a meeting of technology executives at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City. This is the first major meeting between President-elect Trump and technology industry leaders. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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"She's been an important partner for me for 10 years, and I'm really proud of the work that we've done together, and I hope that we work together for decades more to come," he said.

Zuckerberg has complete control of the social network as its chief executive, chairman and controlling shareholder, and Sandberg has given no indication that she plans to leave the company. She joined from Google in 2008.

For two years Facebook has been rocked by crises involving covert Russian propaganda, the mishandling of millions of users' personal information and the hiring of a public relations firm that had an "in-house fake news shop."

Sources have told NBC News that Zuckerberg and Sandberg believe Facebook's negative image is a public relations problem that stems from a bungled press strategy and sensational media coverage, not a structural or philosophical shortcoming that requires a wholesale course correction.

Zuckerberg told CNN that he had no plans to give up his role as board chairman. "I'm not gonna be doing this forever, but I'm certainly — I'm not currently thinking that that makes sense," he said.

He also criticized the outlook of some journalists who report on the company.

"If we're going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well which is that, we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us," he said. He was interrupted before he could elaborate.

Among the criticisms of Facebook is that the company was too slow to name Russia as the source of divisive political messages including ads that appeared in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. The company considered naming Russia in April 2017 but waited until September of that year, the New York Times has reported.

Zuckerberg told CNN he had no regrets about that.

"It's a really big deal to come out and say that a nation-state is behind something, and before our company puts a stamp on something saying that, I want to be really sure that that's the case," he said.

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