Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolution is to solve Facebook’s issues
‘Facebook has a lot of work to do,’ company’s CEO writes in Facebook post announcing his 2018 personal challenge.
New Year’s resolutions typically adhere to some form of self-improvement. People pledge to stop smoking, stop drinking soda, stop swearing and so on. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolution is for his company to stop messing up.
“Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post published on Thursday (embedded in full below). “My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues.”
Many of those issues have concentrated around Facebook’s advertising business. The past year-plus has been littered with examples of how the company’s ad platform can be misused. Russian entities used it to spread fake news and try to undermine the 2016 US presidential election. And it enabled advertisers to skirt race- and age-based discrimination laws, as well as to target hate groups. Add to that the dozen measurement errors that the company has disclosed since September 2016.
As these issues have arisen, Facebook has attempted to stamp them out, though not always expediently. But like a game of whack-a-mole, they keep popping up. Now, it appears Zuckerberg’s hope is that, by the CEO committing to personally focus on these issues, his company may be able to pre-empt how its product can be co-opted. That effort will be especially important as Facebook looks to grow its video advertising business; for brands to be comfortable with Facebook attaching their ads to others’ videos, it will need to demonstrate how it can avoid the brand-safety problems that plagued YouTube throughout 2017.
“We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory,” he wrote.