Did Mark Zuckerberg Just Publish Facebook's New Manifesto?

Posted February 19, 2017

Honest! When we wrote yesterday about Facebook trying to be all things to all people, we didn't know that Mark Zuckerberg was about to drop a weighty manifesto illustrating just how true that is.

In a 6,000 word open letter, founder Mark Zuckerberg offered a vision for the social network as a force in building a "global community" but warned that the goals for Facebook's AI are still years from being attained. Today I want to focus on the most important question of all: "are we building the world we all want?"

"My hope is that more of us will commit our energy to building the long term social infrastructure to bring humanity together", Zuckerberg said.

Since its inception Facebook has been evolving non-stop. There are cases of bullying and harassment every day, that our team must be alerted to before we can help out.

Facebook has been under growing pressure to more closely police hoaxes, fake news and other controversial content, although the concerns have had little impact on its finances. "For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families", the young mogul explained.

Civic engagement. "Just as TV became the primary medium for civic communication in the 1960s, social media is becoming this in the 21st century", Zuckerberg writes, setting out plans to boost civic engagement and help hundreds of millions of people around the world register to vote.

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"Our greatest opportunities are now global - like spreading prosperity and freedom, promoting peace and understanding, lifting people out of poverty, and accelerating science", Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. "Our greatest challenges also need global responses - like ending terrorism, fighting climate change, and preventing pandemics".

"There are many of us who stand for bringing people together and connecting the world".

The line "including terrorist planning attacks using private channels" indicate that Facebook considered using artificial intelligence to spy on users' personal messages. Details are still being worked out, but Zuckerberg pointed to a "large-scale democratic process to determine standards with AI to help enforce them". "With a broader range of controls, content will only be taken down if it is more objectionable than the most permissive options allowed and Facebook will also block content based on standards and local laws", Zuckerberg added.

The Associated Press originally published the paragraph that included the mention of monitoring private channels, but its story has since been updated "to substitute a quote on artificial intelligence to reflect what was actually in the manifesto".

However, Zuckerberg stayed away from making any direct reference to US President Donald Trump's stance on cross-border movement of people or Brexit. "That's why I'm so anxious about sensationalism in media", he said.