Five years ago, in a pre-IPO letter to Facebook investors, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future.”
In the letter, the Facebook co-founder and CEO highlighted how he believes his platform is changing the relationship between citizens and government. Facebook was not originally created to be a company, he wrote. It was built make the world more open and connected – to build a global community.
Going forward, there were a lot of questions around the world reflecting on how the largest social network could be so progressive. While the post-IPO Facebook dominated the financial press in the last five years, it also slowly set the stage for a peculiar trend.
Mark Zuckerberg's Letter
On Thursday, Zuckerberg posted a 6,000-word opus for Facebook Inc., addressing artificial intelligence, online safety, fake news and polarization of society. “Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community,” wrote Zuckerberg. Throughout the entire letter, the CEO of Facebook fill out on five goals: to help users built communities that are supportive, safe, informed, civically-engaged, and inclusive.
Mark Zuckerberg has clearly done a lot of thinking in the last twelve months. In his letter, he points out how businesses and individuals can do more to combat ‘fake news.’ Facebook has played a pivotal role in the emergence of hoaxes and misinformation spread virally.
He argues that in the future Facebook will be able to use artificial intelligence to detect cases of bullying and harassment. AI will detect such content to flag to moderators before a user reports the content. Currently, Facebook is exploring ways to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda. The tool will be particularly helpful in removing anyone trying to use the platform to recruit for a terrorist organization.
He wrote a lengthy diatribe in the letter, expressing concern on the so-called polarization, which exists in all realms of life, physical or digital. “Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign,” he wrote. “A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right.”
Over the last five years, the social network has been cataclysmically in the middle of historical events on the planet. It has become a tool to remind people to register to vote and connect with local representatives. It has also become a tool cultural nuances like the censorship of the iconic Vietnam war photo. With the letter, Mark Zuckerberg is determined to let topics like AI, polarization, online safety and fake news gain prominence in our daily lives. It’s a herculean task, considering there are over 1.80 billion Facebook users on the planet.