17 February 2017, USA:
Mark Zuckerberg might have had a couple of sleepless nights since Valentines Day. Or maybe he’s eyeing for Presidency! Or maybe it is just that he genuinely feels for the World and aims to change the adverse things that are happening.
Zuckerberg has written a 5,738-word long letter to tackle the issues that we face across the globe. He stated, “History is the story of how we’ve learned to come together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations. At each step, we built social infrastructure like communities, media and governments to empower us to achieve things we couldn’t on our own.”
Zuckerberg added, “Today we are close to taking our next step. Our greatest opportunities are now global — like spreading prosperity and freedom, promoting peace and understanding, lifting people out of poverty, and accelerating science. Our greatest challenges also need global responses — like ending terrorism, fighting climate change, and preventing pandemics. Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community.”
He went on, “In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.” “Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. When we began, this idea was not controversial. Yet now, across the world, there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from the global connection.”
Our goal is to strengthen existing communities by helping us come together online as well as offline, as well as enabling us to form completely new communities, transcending physical location. When we do this, beyond connecting online, we reinforce our physical communities by bringing us together in person to support each other. A healthy society needs these communities to support our personal, emotional and spiritual needs. In a world where this physical social infrastructure has been declining, we have a real opportunity to help strengthen these communities and the social fabric of our society.
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. A virus in one nation can quickly spread to others. A conflict in one country can create a refugee crisis across continents. Pollution in one place can affect the environment around the world. Humanity’s current systems are insufficient to address these issues.
The accuracy of information is very important. We know there is misinformation and even outright hoax content on Facebook, and we take this very seriously. We’ve made progress fighting hoaxes the way we fight spam, but we have more work to do. We are proceeding carefully because there is not always a clear line between hoaxes, satire and opinion. In a free society, it’s important that people have the power to share their opinion, even if others think they’re wrong. Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item’s accuracy.
Local civic engagement is a big opportunity as well as national. Today, most of us do not even know who our local representatives are, but many policies impacting our lives are local, and this is where our participation has the greatest influence. Beyond voting, the greatest opportunity is helping people stay engaged with the issues that matter to them every day, not just every few years at the ballot box. We can help establish direct dialogue and accountability between people and our elected leaders.
In India, Prime Minister Modi has asked his ministers to share their meetings and information on Facebook so they can hear direct feedback from citizens.
We need a system where we can all contribute to setting the standards. Although this system is not fully developed, I want to share an idea of how this might work.
The guiding principles are that the Community Standards should reflect the cultural norms of our community, that each person should see as little objectionable content as possible, and each person should be able to share what they want while being told they cannot share something as little as possible. The approach is to combine creating a large-scale democratic process to determine standards with AI to help enforce them.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote the letter in a politically correct manner. He avoided making reference to the divisive policies of Donald Trump and Brexit, instead of making vague references to building community and decreasing polarization. (Image- Zuckerberg blogpost)
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