Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Is Done With Being Cool

In a wide-ranging interview with James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, Mark Zuckerberg talks immigration reform, government requests for user data, and Facebook losing its cool.

A Democrat? A Republican? No, Mark Zuckerberg prefers to label himself as pro-knowledge economy, where ideas make up the currency. It's a fitting answer for the Facebook CEO, who knows he'll have to reach both sides of the aisle in a bid to transform immigration laws.

Zuckerberg traveled to Washington, D.C., with an agenda, meeting Democrat and Republican lawmakers to discuss reform that could affect 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Soon after leaving the Hill, he changed out of his suit and tie and into his signature hoodie to speak to The Atlantic's editor-in-chief, James Bennet, in a wide-ranging conversation at the Newseum on Wednesday.

Much of the discussion was a rehash of Zuckerberg's talk at TechCrunch Disrupt last week, where he spoke about his advocacy group FWD.us. In addition to lobbying for immigration reform, he also emphasized how seriously Facebook takes user privacy and said the company pushes back against government requests that are overly broad. "The more transparency the government has, the better folks would feel," he said.

One of the more jovial moments of the interview was when Bennet asked if Facebook could lose its coolness à la MySpace. "People assume that we’re trying to be cool. It’s never been my goal. I’m the least cool person there is," he admitted. "We’re almost 10 years old, so we’re definitely not a niche thing anymore so that kind of angle for coolness is done for us."

He continues, making an analogy to electricity: "Maybe electricity was cool when it first came out, but pretty quickly people stopped talking about it because it’s not the new thing. The real question you want to track at that point is: Are fewer people turning on their lights because it’s less cool?"

Cool or not, Facebook can tout more than a billion users on its platform.

[Image: Flickr user mkhmarketing]

Add New Comment

5 Comments

  • Mike

    Bye Bye facebook...Bye Bye Mark...Hello Myspace again!!! Tom had this planned out from the get go! haha

  • anroep@hotmail.com

    I particularly don't see anything special about Facebook, as it is nothing necessary. Just people wasting their time and others interfering in your privacy! On the other hand I may agree with what Chris Kelly says, "Electricity is fundamental for modern living", do we need "Facebook"? So I am wondering how they would continue to exist, or remain sustainable in the long run.

  • Chris Kelly

    uurr, was Facebook ever cool? I've never heard of anyone talking about Facebook fondly, even those who use it everyday. The best I've heard is 'we made a ton of cash' from businesses who have used it successfully & its a 'necessary evil' for those who feel like they cant escape using it. 

    Electricity is fairly fundamental to modern living, Facebook wont ever be that. Although some feel like they cant escape it, something will come along at some point that will make it look old and boring and everyone will move on. I know this is often said of tech companies but the label 'too big to fail' that Facebook gets is a good sign of the beginning of the end. If Facebook lasts for a long long time, that would be a real shame as I think we can do a great deal better. 

    Facebook has always felt like something a geek made because he didnt know how to make real friends to me.

  • Gulfschooling

     If you carefully examine what you can actually do on facebook is not that interesting.  I recently launched a website and was trying to market using facebook but it wont let me make friends because I dont know those people. So how do you make friends if you cant initiate the first step in making friends. Its good for nothing really. My website is gulfschooling dot com