Every year since 2009, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly announced his New Year resolutions; for 2019, he intends to “host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society — the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties.”
Zuckerberg noted in his Facebook post that the plan is to involve “leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields” in these conversations every few weeks, and make them publicly available.
On the one hand, I feel like I don’t have the energy to keep up with Zuck this year: his 2018 resolution was to fix what’s broken with Facebook, and I don’t believe he succeeded on that front. Over the past couple of years, I’ve lost faith in what the company stands for, and I wish I could use its services less often, and hear less about Zuckerberg & Co.’s antics and failures than before.
On the other hand, I’m keen to see what comes of this effort, and whether Zuckerberg can have honest conversations about the questions he’s raising about the responsibility of giving people a voice, about decentralizing authority, and about helping communities come together.
My concern is that, regardless of what he learns from these talks, Zuckerberg will still have to keep advertisers happy and put money in shareholders’ pockets. So even if his public conversations help unearth good ideas for the future of technology in society, it won’t be easy to implement them at Facebook, at least not in the short term.
You can read Zuckerberg‘s full post over on Facebook.