Fun fact about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Every year he gives himself a “personal challenge,” which is not to be confused with the “New Year’s resolutions” us plebs do every year. Over the years, he says, thanks to these challenges, he’s taken up running as well as learned foreign languages and read books.
But this year, as more revelations come to light about the rampant misuse of Facebook’s platform–including the spread of fake news and other forms of disinformation–Zuckerberg’s challenge is to focus on his business.
“The world feels anxious and divided, and 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,” he writes. “My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues.”
In essence, Zuckerberg is vowing to help fix the problems that plague Facebook, which is his job, something he admits: “This may not seem like a personal challenge on its face,” Zuckerberg writes, “but I think I’ll learn more by focusing intensely on these issues than I would by doing something completely separate.”
We could, I suppose, look at this from the flip side; despite these growing and ever more glaring issues of safety and abuse, Facebook as a company is still doing quite well. It has more than 2 billion users and continues to be a digital ad leader. In some ways, it’s a great symbol of the country as a whole. American citizens are unhappy and riddled with iniquity, but the economy is still doing great.
But Zuckerberg has already spent the last year pledging to focus on the issues that plague Facebook. The only way to interpret this post is that this year, instead of reading personal fulfillment books, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will instead be thinking long and hard about how to make his digital empire more equitable. I guess we’re supposed to applaud now?