Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Facebook Photo)
Facebook will use artificial intelligence to organize a global community on social media, Mark Zuckerberg said in a nearly 6,000-word letter published Thursday.
The CEO touched on dozens of global problems in his letter, before addressing how Facebook can solve them. The power of Facebook is undeniable, but much like other letters he has penned, Zuckerberg appears to be talking more about saving the world rather than just social media.
“We may not have the power to create the world we want immediately, but we can all start working on the long term today,” he wrote. “In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.”
From the start, Facebook has long focused on connecting people, but in recent years, the prospect of globalization has been a heated topic. In his letter, the Facebook CEO argues that not only is globalization a good thing, but it can be made better with the help of technology such as AI.
Among the problems that arise in Facebook’s overly connected community is the spread of terrorism. Social media allows people to post an item that can reach thousands within seconds, and that’s made it hard to combat terrorism propaganda in the past. Zuckerberg thinks AI can help solve this by quickly recognizing photos or videos that depict violence and determining the difference between articles on terrorism and propaganda.
“Looking ahead, one of our greatest opportunities to keep people safe is building artificial intelligence to understand more quickly and accurately what is happening across our community,” Zuckerberg wrote.
But Facebook isn’t focusing all of its work on AI, and, in the letter, Zuckerberg laid other ways the company is working on creating a conclusive, productive global community.
He sees groups, for one, as a major way for people to feel connected to those around them. Facebook is working on identifying “meaningful groups” – such as those where a community develops for people sharing a disease – and helping people connect with them. Zuckerberg said Facebook’s progress will be now measured by progress with such groups, rather than groups overall.
We can also expect to see subgroups on Facebook, and Zuckerberg said the site is working on creating opportunities for dialogue surrounding live events. A patent granted this week seems to touch on that.
“In the same way connecting with friends online strengthens real relationships, developing this infrastructure will strengthen these communities, as well as enable completely new ones to form,” he wrote.
With these communities, Zuckerberg said Facebook will work to keep more people informed. In the last year, some of the main criticism surrounding the site has been around fake news, and Zuckerberg said the company is working to combat that. But, it won’t be going away anytime soon.
Zuckerberg said Facebook won’t focus on banning misinformation, but instead label it.
“We are proceeding carefully because there is not always a clear line between hoaxes, satire and opinion,” he wrote. “In a free society, it’s important that people have the power to share their opinion, even if others think they’re wrong.”
One thing Facebook does do better than traditional media, according to Zuckerberg, is providing more diverse viewpoints. He believes the lack of diverse editorial content can lead to sensationalism, such as how the conversation around AI “has been oversimplified to existential fear-mongering.”