Mark Zuckerberg talks of using Facebook to build a better global community

Mark Zuckerberg

An nearly 6,000-word manifesto about how his company will take responsibility for helping people understand one another. For those who have speculated that Zuckerberg may someday run for president, this statement will fuel further speculation.

The Facebook founder said, "Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community".

"There are questions about whether we can make a global community that works for everyone, and whether the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course", Zuckerberg writes.

"At our current pace of research, we hope to begin handling some of these cases in 2017, but others will not be possible for many years", he said about all the developments using AI and noted "major advances" would be needed to understand text, photos and videos. "This is because of the amount of communication across our network, our ability to quickly reach people worldwide in an emergency, and the vast scale of people's intrinsic goodness aggregated across our community", Zuckerberg writes. At least, when it comes to "community building". For the past decade, the social networking giant has focused on connecting family members and friends.

In his post, he spelled out a five-part mission for the company: building communities that are supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged and inclusive. He is selling the idea as an approach to build the kind of world we all want. In it, he describes his vision for the future of his social network.

He promised to invest in global infrastructure to promote safety, saying Facebook would be using artificial intelligence programs to crack down on terrorist propaganda and hate speech, while at the same time working to preserve individual liberties through tools such as encrypted messaging.


"This is a time when many of us around the world are reflecting on how we can have the most positive impact", wrote Zuckerberg in a blog post late Thursday.

"If this continues and we lose common understanding, then even if we eliminated all misinformation, people would just emphasise different sets of facts to fit their polarised opinions".

Zuckerberg says the same signal will soon allow its AI to identify "sensationalist" publishers as well. At a moment when Facebook is getting blamed for partisan rancor and the propagation of made-up news, it repositions the company as a torch-carrier for the ideal of global interdependence (Steven Levy in Backchannel).

Mr Zuckerberg pledged to support the news industry - whose advertising revenue is being slowly eaten by Google and Facebook - to make sure it continues to uncover and analyse new information.

Zuckerberg also conceded that Facebook can be used for ill.

But it's hard to take the Facebook CEO's constant references to "the Facebook community" seriously. "Today we are close to taking our next step".

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