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Zuckerberg’s New Year Resolution

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly announced his 2018 new year resolution by making it his personal mission to “fix” Facebook.

After a year littered with bad press for the social media giant, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that “we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools” and that he will be looking to fix systemic issues with Facebook like online abuse and hacking from other countries.

In his post, Zuckerberg claims that “the world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do”.

…Facebook recorded figures of over two billion daily users, increases in average time spent on Facebook per user, and continued increases in advertising revenue across all four quarters…

However, from a business perspective, 2017 was largely successful for Zuckerberg’s company. In June last year, Facebook recorded figures of over two billion daily users, increases in average time spent on Facebook per user, and continued increases in advertising revenue across all four quarters. All of these factors significantly contributed to the company’s stock growing by over 50% in 2017.

But Zuckerberg has recognised that Facebook is by no means near perfect on the ethical spectrum and, in order to maintain a promising financial future, needs to respond to both government and public criticism. Indeed, in an environment where tech companies, like Uber and Amazon, are becoming easy targets for public criticism, Facebook must remedy its faults.

…the social media platform can encourage societal divisions and includes fake and misleading content…

The unwitting selling of ads to a Russian ‘troll farm’ is a prime example of when Facebook left the world anxious and divided. The ads were found to have polarised issues such as gun rights, immigration fears, gay rights and racial discrimination. In addition, fake news stories disseminated through Facebook were found to have had detrimental impacts on the public during both the 2016 US Presidential Election and the EU Referendum, with 2017 exposing fake news stories on Facebook as the social media’s ethical downfall.

Rather prudently, Zuckerberg has recognised there is a lot of work that can be done to improve user experience on Facebook. He acknowledges that the social media platform can encourage societal divisions and includes fake and misleading content. Zuckerberg also admits that “We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools.”

…Zuckerberg’s underlying motive will be to revitalise Facebook’s image in order to maintain its public appeal for financial purposes…

Indeed, Facebook does currently have a set of policies, but users are often unaware of what exactly they are. Last year, Facebook had announced plans to increase its number of moderators to manage the site’s ever increasing content. However, Zuckerberg’s resolution for 2018 recognises that more needs to be done to control the formulation and spread of both offensive and fake media.

In addition, Zuckerberg is also aiming to restore people’s faith in technology, portraying it as “a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands” as opposed to a centralising tool used by governments and a mechanism by which today’s tech giants, such as Amazon and Apple, can dominate the commercial landscape.

But for a company that feeds off a growing user database that fuels its increasing advertising revenue, Zuckerberg’s underlying motive will be to revitalise Facebook’s image in order to maintain its public appeal for financial purposes. Indeed, with Facebook focusing on the increasing number of people who access the site via mobile, Zuckerberg’s moral crusade of 2018 will be vital in ensuring that the social media platform remains popular with users as the trend from desktop to mobile increases.

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