February 17, 2017:Facebook reorients corporate mission around communities

What’s that? You thought Facebook was already about community? Well, yes, but it’s a community facing growing criticism on multiple counts: from enabling the spread of fake news to hiving people off into political ‘filter bubbles’.

Now CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out his ambitions to reorient the social network’s corporate mission to address these and other problems.

“For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families. 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,” wrote Zuckerberg.

His post is long but important reading, for better or worse. Privacy advocates are already poring over his comments on using AI to tackle terrorist activity, while the section on fake news and filter bubbles does address the nuances around those issues.

“I worry about these and we have studied them extensively, but I also worry there are even more powerful effects we must mitigate around sensationalism and polarisation leading to a loss of common understanding,” wrote Zuckerberg. “Our goal must be to help people see a more complete picture, not just alternate perspectives…”

Stuart Dredge
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