Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed this year to host public discussions on the future of technology in society.
“I'm an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they’d mostly speak for themselves,” Zuckerberg wrote in his annual New Year’s post. “But given the importance of what we do, that doesn’t cut it anymore. So I’m going to put myself out there more than I’ve been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go.”
As part of a personal challenge for 2019, Zuckerberg plans to host a series of public discussions about technology’s future. “Every few weeks I’ll talk with leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields and I’ll try different formats to keep it interesting. These will all be public, either on my Facebook or Instagram pages or on other media,” he explained.
Zuckerberg’s post comes as it was recently revealed that the CEO did not sell a single Facebook share in the last quarter of 2018 — marking the first quarter in more than two years that he didn’t sell. The decision came as Facebook’s shares have fallen about 38 percent since July after the company was hit with a series of scandals, including the discovery that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data on 87 million Facebook users without their consent. A few months later the company revealed that about 50 million of its users had their data exposed through an attack on its network.
But Zuckerberg said that he was “proud of the progress” his company has made to stop these issues.
“We’re a very different company today than we were in 2016, or even a year ago,” he wrote. “To be clear, addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge . . . For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never fully be solved.”