Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to showcase how the social network has helped establish a direct dialogue and accountability between people and elected leaders.
In a post titled ‘Building Global Community’, Zuckerberg wrote to the social network’s users in an over 5,700-word post, which is being described as his mission statement.
“Beyond voting, the greatest opportunity is helping people stay engaged with the issues that matter to them every day, not just every few years at the ballot box. We can help establish direct dialogue and accountability between people and our elected leaders,” he wrote.
“In India, Prime Minister Modi has asked his ministers to share their meetings and information on Facebook so they can hear direct feedback from citizens.” In his post addressed to 1.9 billion Facebook users, Zuckerberg went onto describe challenges that the world face today, ranging from climate change and pandemics to terrorism and inequality.
“For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families. With that foundation, our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all,” he added.
Zuckerberg said when Facebook began its journey, this idea was not controversial and as the world got more connected, it was seen as a positive trend.
“Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection. There are questions about whether we can make a global community that works for everyone, and whether the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course,” he wrote.
However, Zuckerberg stayed away from making any direct reference to US President Donald Trump’s stance on cross-border movement of people or Brexit.
“Our job at Facebook is to help people make the greatest positive impact while mitigating areas where technology and social media can contribute to divisiveness and isolation,” he said.
Zuckerberg added that Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families for the past decade and the “next focus” will be developing the social infrastructure for community.
His note also spoke extensively about the spread of information on Facebook, including so-called ‘fake news’.
“If this continues and we lose common understanding, then even if we eliminated all misinformation, people would just emphasise different sets of facts to fit their polarised opinions. That’s why I’m so worried about sensationalism in media,” he said.