AKIPRESS.COM - For years, Mark Zuckerberg has announced an annual personal challenge, from slaughtering his own meat to learning Mandarin to building his own artificial intelligence.
His 2018 task might be the most ambitious yet: Fix Facebook Inc. In a Facebook post Thursday that highlights his company’s mounting difficulties, Mr. Zuckerberg said the social network has made “too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools.”
The Facebook chief executive, a self-described optimist about technology, said promising tools such as encryption and cryptocurrency could help counter concerns about the growing power of technology giants, but added that they, too, carried risks that needed to be deliberated, WSJ reported.
“The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do—whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent,” he wrote. “My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues.”
The goal shows how starkly Facebook’s situation has changed. In January 2017, even as criticism was growing about Facebook’s role in spreading fake news and divisiveness during the U.S. presidential election, Mr. Zuckerberg unveiled plans for a series of trips across the country to talk to Americans about their lives and work. The tour sparked speculation that Mr. Zuckerberg might want to run for president.
Now Mr. Zuckerberg is focused on addressing risks that threaten to damage the company he co-founded in 2004 as a service for Harvard University students. Today, more than two billion people log into Facebook every month and it is one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies—power that is now drawing enormous scrutiny.
Over the past 18 months, Facebook has been lambasted for allowing objectionable content, including violent live videos, and fabricated news articles to proliferate on its service.
Mr. Zuckerberg said in Thursday’s post that the current national mood resembles that of 2009, when he mounted his first personal challenge by wearing a tie every day. At the time, the U.S. economy was in the midst of recession and Facebook, then five years old, wasn’t profitable. “It was a serious year, and I wore a tie every day as a reminder,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. “Today feels a lot like that first year.”