Facebook’s CEO today asked the question on the tip of most of our tongues: are we building the world we all want?
In just under 7,000 words, Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto addressed the company mantra — connecting the world — while taking stock of the current political climate, socio-economic impact of globalization on its users, and the need to accelerate scientific research to address issues like climate change and pandemics. It was, in a word, epic.
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The message revolved around community. Zuckerberg asked, and addressed, Facebook’s role in building “supportive,” “safe,” “informed,” “civically-engaged,” and “inclusive” communities. Here’s what he had to say.
Our goal is to strengthen existing communities by helping us come together online as well as offline, as well as enabling us to form completely new communities, transcending physical location. When we do this, beyond connecting online, we reinforce our physical communities by bringing us together in person to support each other.
The path forward is to recognize that a global community needs social infrastructure to keep us safe from threats around the world, and that our community is uniquely positioned to prevent disasters, help during crises, and rebuild afterwards. Keeping the global community safe is an important part of our mission — and an important part of how we’ll measure our progress going forward.
Connecting everyone to the internet is also necessary for building an informed community. For the majority of people around the world, the debate is not about the quality of public discourse but whether they have access to basic information they need at all, often related to health, education and jobs.
On a daily basis, people use their voices to share their views in ways that can spread around the world and grow into movements. The Women’s March is an example of this, where a grandmother with an internet connection wrote a post that led her friends to start a Facebook event that eventually turned into millions of people marching in cities around the world.
This has been painful for me because I often agree with those criticizing us that we’re making mistakes. These mistakes are almost never because we hold ideological positions at odds with the community, but instead are operational scaling issues. Our guiding philosophy for the Community Standards is to try to reflect the cultural norms of our community.
Zuckerberg’s magnum opus is definitely worth reading in its entirety — if you’ve got an hour to kill, anyway.