Speaking to Facebook’s prominent place at the center of news, information, and communication, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision for the future of the company on Thursday.
In a nearly 6,000-word manifesto posted on Facebook, Zuckerberg suggested that social media platform was finally realizing its grand mission to “connect the world.” “For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families,” the social media boss explained.
“With that foundation, our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community – for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”
The letter discusses many of the pitfalls that have surfaced as a result of Facebook trying to carry out its core mission of connecting people around the world. Zuckerberg noted that people are more connected than ever, but elements of “divisiveness and isolation” have challenged the potential for Facebook to create a positive impact on how we communicate.
With regard to building “safe communities,” Zuckerberg focused on addressing real-world safety concerns such as earthquakes, child abduction and terrorism. He also touched on the prevalent issue of fake news, and how to lessen its reach. Obviously these are all tough challenges to tackle, but Zuckerberg noted that Facebook’s work on artificial intelligence could make a difference.
“Right now, we’re starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda so we can quickly remove anyone trying to use our services to recruit for a terrorist organization,” Zuckerberg said. “This is technically difficult as it requires building AI that can read and understand news, but we need to work on this to help fight terrorism worldwide.”
Zuckerberg closed his letter by highlighting the importance of creating community, quoting American president Abraham Lincoln:
I am reminded of President Lincoln’s remarks during the American Civil War: ‘We can succeed only by concert. It is not “can any of us imagine better?” but, “can we all do better?” The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, act anew.’