Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is affirming his commitment to globalization at a time when that ideology is coming under fire in the U.S. and some European countries.
“Our greatest opportunities are now global,” Zuckerberg wrote in a 5,800-word post on the social network. “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.”
Zuckerberg’s Thursday post doesn’t name President Trump or the rise of white nationalism and anti-immigration attitudes in the United States. In an interview with Recode, he said he’d been mulling over the ideas for a while. But there’s no denying that current events were a motivator.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post.
The mission of creating a global community, or “making the world more open and connected,” has been Facebook’s foundation. It’s an idea that Zuckerberg noted wasn’t controversial when the social network started more than a decade ago. Of course that’s changed, with nationalism and anti-globalization sentiments on the rise in the U.S. and Europe.
Zuckerberg is getting kudos for his positions — being “woke” — and realizing the immense social power Facebook yields, especially in news. A majority of American adults get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. And Facebook has arguably been key to the success of movements like #blacklivesmatter and the recent Women’s March.
But Zuckerberg’s post also displays the naiveté for which Silicon Valley companies routinely get slammed. That is, there’s been a magical thinking that access to information, connecting people and making consumption clickable, in and of themselves, will make the world a better place.
In his open letter, Zuckerberg also outlined several other current social problems that Facebook will help solve. Among them: building a supportive and civic-minded community, as well as tackling fake news.
Facebook has acknowledged fake news on its platform as a problem and has partnered with fact-checkers to try to filter it out.
“Accuracy of information is very important,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”