Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's resolution: host public discussions about tech

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made it his New Year's resolution to ...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 5:00 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 5:00 AM

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made it his New Year's resolution to fix Facebook. Then Facebook ended the year plagued by negative headlines about data privacy and controversial PR tactics.

Zuckerberg's 2019 resolution may prove challenging too. Instead of focusing only on Facebook's problems, he wants to talk more about broader societal issues facing the entire technology industry.

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In a note posted to his Facebook page Tuesday, Zuckerberg said he intends to "host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society," featuring a mix of "leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields."

Zuckerberg said he has a "long list of people" he'd like to speak with, though he didn't mention any names. Among the debate-worthy issues highlighted in his post: whether technology should give more people a voice and how to develop technology that creates rather than destroys jobs.

For Zuckerberg, the real personal challenge here is making a conscious decision to "put myself out there more than I've been comfortable with."

"I'm an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they'd mostly speak for themselves. But given the importance of what we do, that doesn't cut it anymore," he said. With that in mind, he said, he plans to "engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go."

If his other resolutions are any indication, however, expect Zuckerberg's public debates to be fairly scripted events, rather than a raw and unfiltered window into the CEO's mind.

In previous years, Zuckerberg ran a mile a day, started a book club and escaped the Silicon Valley bubble by traveling to dozens of new states. The latter resulted in an endless series of carefully staged photo-ops of Zuckerberg doing normal person things like posing on an assembly lines and posing while feeding a cow.

Last year, Zuckerberg and Facebook focused on addressing misuse of the social platform by working to prevent election interference, misinformation and hate speech. Despite the many scandals that followed in 2018, Zuckerberg said he was "proud of the progress we've made."

But as he clarified in late December, "addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge."

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