Each year, Mark Zuckerberg announces a personal challenge he intends to rise to.
In years past, this has ranged from easy tasks like wearing a tie every day to very difficult ones like learning Mandarin or building his own artificial intelligence. 2018 isn’t any different. In true Zuckerberg fashion, a challenge has been thrown down: he intends to fix Facebook.
The Root of the Problem
2017 was a particularly difficult year for the social media giant.
Not only was it discovered that Russian-backed parties were able to use the advanced targeting tools within Facebook to spread propaganda that may have influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but it temporarily became a huge click-generating machine for fake news stories.
As the platform, which now is home to about two billion monthly users, matures, the power it wields over that user base is becoming more focused. Social media marketers can harness tools to deliver the exact message to the perfect audience at the moment they’re ready to buy, every single time. But that also means Facebook itself knows enough about the user base to foster dependence on its platform over all others by using those same tools.
With great power comes great responsibility, as they say.
Zuckerberg’s Plan for Facebook
Unlike previous personal challenges that gave Zuckerberg and everyone else concrete ideas about his goals, “fixing Facebook” is a bit up in the air.
In a post to the Facebook community, he stated that there were “too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools.” He added, “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.”
Although Zuckerberg isn’t being open about his plans for the social network, he has said publicly that he will be bringing in experts to discuss and help work through issues related to “history, civics, political philosophy, media, government, and of course technology.” 2018 may be a real banner year for Facebook, but it remains to be seen.