Zuckerberg’s talk about his futuristic vision for Facebook
On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out at its third-quarter earnings call, supporting its analysis on how its services affect users, after numerous press reports based on documents leaked by a former employee.
Zuckerberg said that criticism helps them get better. However, he added that they now experience a coordinated attempt to use leaked documents to draw a false picture of the company. He explained that they have an open culture in reality, where they encourage discussion and research about their work to progress on various complex issues.
The reports appeared from a consortium of several news outlets in the U.S. that Frances Haugen provided as internal research. He is a former employee who also gave the documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission. They follow earlier reports of the same documents by The Wall Street Journal, which proposed hearings in Congress and abroad.
The reports unveiled that Facebook knew that its services could negatively impact some users’ mental health and spread potentially dangerous misinformation. While Facebook tries to modify some things to make its platform safer, the company’s critics say it has not acted quickly enough.
Zuckerberg argued that the issues Facebook experiences represent a reflection of society. He said that the source of these issues is not fundamentally from social media. He explained that no matter what the company does, they would never solve them on their own. While pointing out unspecified research findings that countries using social media have seen declining polarization, he said that the polarization started spreading in the U.S. before he was born. Mark said that the reality is different, while most critics say they do not solve these issues because they are just focused on making money. He explained that it is all about balancing diverse difficult social values.
At the end of his opening statement, he declared a new strategic vision for the platform’s future. He said that Facebook would now focus on young adults, ages 18-29, instead of making it a place that feeds the greatest number of people.
According to him, they are reshaping their teams to serve young adults instead of optimizing for the larger number of older people. He explained that this process would involve trade-offs in their product, and the rest of their community will grow slowly. However, it means that their services will become stronger for young adults. Zuckerberg added that the shift would take a couple of years.
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