In Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, Facebook can help build communities, encourage civic engagement, and keep us safer and more informed. That’s the long-term plan at least, years, if not decades, down the line.
He outlined his view for the social network and the world in a sweeping 5,500-word manifesto posted on his Facebook page Thursday. It’s as much a vision for the world as it is a missive for Facebook. Written to the 1.86 billion-member Facebook community, Zuckerberg asks, first and foremost, “are we building the world we all want?”
Here are some excerpts:
“Online communities are a bright spot, and we can strengthen existing physical communities by helping people come together online as well as offline. In the same way connecting with friends online strengthens real relationships, developing this infrastructure will strengthen these communities, as well as enable completely new ones to form.
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PREVENTING HARM AND HELPING OTHERS
“Today’s threats are increasingly global, but the infrastructure to protect us is not. Problems like terrorism, natural disasters, disease, refugee crises, and climate change need coordinated responses from a worldwide vantage point. No nation can solve them alone.”
“I have long expected more organizations and startups to build health and safety tools using technology, and I have been surprised by how little of what must be built has even been attempted. There is a real opportunity to build global safety infrastructure, and I have directed Facebook to invest more and more resources into serving this need.”
“(It) is important to emphasize that part of keeping people safe is protecting individual security and liberty. We are strong advocates of encryption.”
AN INFORMED PUBLIC
“Social media is a short-form medium where resonant messages get amplified many times. This rewards simplicity and discourages nuance. At its best, this focuses messages and exposes people to different ideas. At its worst, it oversimplifies important topics and pushes us towards extremes.”
“A strong news industry is also critical to building an informed community. Giving people a voice is not enough without having people dedicated to uncovering new information and analyzing it. There is more we must do to support the news industry to make sure this vital social function is sustainable — from growing local news, to developing formats best suited to mobile devices, to improving the range of business models news organizations rely on.”
“Our world is more connected than ever, and we face global problems that span national boundaries. As the largest global community, Facebook can explore examples of how community governance might work at scale.”
“(Our) community is evolving from its origin connecting us with family and friends to now becoming a source of news and public discourse as well. With this cultural shift, our Community Standards must adapt to permit more newsworthy and historical content, even if some is objectionable.”
“The idea is to give everyone in the community options for how they would like to set the content policy for themselves. Where is your line on nudity? On violence? On graphic content? On profanity? What you decide will be your personal settings.”