In a letter posted on Facebook this morning, Mark Zuckerberg plays savior as he addresses the global community with a 6000-word letter, outlining his growing concerns about the divided world we are living in and how Facebook can help create the perfect global community that is a win-win for all.
According to Facebook CEO, the world seems to be going in the opposite direction to the global community he had envisioned with the introduction of his social networking site.
With Trump pushing for stronger borders, his attempt to crackdown on immigrants with his Executive Order, and the U.K. opting out of the European Union he feels that the Facebook mission of keeping the world harmoniously connected is in jeopardy AND it is Facebook that can come to the rescue of the global communities.
“When we began, this idea was not controversial,” he explains. Every year, the world got more connected and this was seen as a positive trend. Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection.”
Zuckerberg goes on to talk about his fanciful and ambitious plans of creating a utopian world community by providing an ideal platform, read Facebook, to crack down on unwanted elements like terrorists, fake news and propaganda proponents with the help of technology such as Artificial Intelligence, new tools to “encourage thoughtful civic engagement” and “additional perspectives and information” in news feeds.
Don’t forget that Facebook and a few others were on the receiving end of some hard criticism on the role they played in the outcome of the US presidential election by encouraging fake news and propaganda on their social platforms.
Although Mark Zuckerberg had played down Facebook’s role in the eventual result of the 2016 election, “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news,” he had also gone on to say, “We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further.”
Coming back to the letter, without speaking about the business aspects of Facebook, he talks about ways Facebook seeks to reverse the trend that is going against his “global community” vision.
He speaks about how Facebook could help people build “supportive communities”, “safe community”, “smart community”, “informed community”, “civically-engaged community”, and “inclusive community” and goes on to elaborate at length on each of these areas of concern.
Zuckerberg, however, does realize that elaborate plans such as the ones he has in mind will take a long time to implement and, perhaps, even longer to see them come to fruition. This, he makes very clear at the outset itself.
“This is a time when many of us around the world are reflecting on how we can have the most positive impact. I am reminded of my favorite saying about technology: “We always overestimate what we can do in two years, and we underestimate what we can do in ten years.” We may not have the power to create the world we want immediately, but we can all start working on the long term today. In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.