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Facebook CEO’s 2018 Challenge: Fix Facebook

Zuckerberg wrote Thursday that he wants to focus this year on protecting Facebook users from abuse, defending against interference by nation-states and “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

Associated Press

Updated:January 5, 2018, 10:26 AM IST
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Facebook CEO’s 2018 Challenge: Fix Facebook
Google is blaming “vandalism” at Wikipedia for search results that incorrectly said the ideology of the California Republican Party included “Nazism.” (photo for representation)
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Mark Zuckerberg says his “personal challenge” for 2018 is to fix Facebook. The Facebook CEO has declared a goal each year since 2009. Past challenges have included wearing a tie every day, learning to speak Mandarin and eating meat only from animals he killed himself. Last year, he visited every U.S. state he hadn’t been to yet. This year, though, his challenge is directed at his company rather than personal ambitions. Zuckerberg wrote Thursday that he wants to focus this year on protecting Facebook users from abuse, defending against interference by nation-states and “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.” In other words, he wants to do his job as Facebook’s CEO.

“This may not seem like a personal challenge on its face, but I think I’ll learn more by focusing intensely on these issues than I would by doing something completely separate,” Zuckerberg wrote. He added that while Facebook won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, “we currently make too many errors.” Facebook had a tough 2017. It testified before Congress about Russian election meddling using its platform and drew harsh criticism from early employees and investors about its role in the world.

But Zuckerberg also has little choice but to fix Facebook’s problems. Regulators in Washington, Europe and elsewhere are expecting concrete results. And while the platform has more than 2 billion users, there is nothing to guarantee they will stay and keep using Facebook as much as they do now if they feel depressed, lied to with fake news and hoaxes and manipulated by foreign powers.

Zuckerberg compared this year’s challenge to the first one he did nine years ago. It wasn’t so much about him back then either, but about the social platform, he created. “That first year the economy was in a deep recession and Facebook was not yet profitable. We needed to get serious about making sure Facebook had a sustainable business model. It was a serious year, and I wore a tie every day as a reminder,” he wrote. “Today feels a lot like that first year.”

But fixing deep-rooted, existential problems is a taller order than turning a profit. Many of Facebook’s problems are deeply rooted in how it’s set up and why it’s been so successful, financially and otherwise. Its secret formulas give users the content they are most likely to interact with and what’s most likely to keep them coming back for more. Sometimes, that’s heartfelt posts by their friends but other times its viral fake news stories or inflammatory comments about political candidates.


Watch: Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review | Raises the Bar for Entry-Level Smartphones




(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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