For years, Facebook’s F8 developer conference has kicked off with a keynote in which Mark Zuckerberg rhapsodizes about the importance of connecting people. This morning, he did that once more. But in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica mess, Zuckerberg’s mantra was intermingled with a healthy dose of crow.
“It’s not enough to build powerful tools,” he said, echoing a point he’s made repeatedly in recent weeks. “We have to make sure they’re used for good. And we will.” Sounding more intense than useful, he ran down some of the ways in which Facebook has been a positive force lately, ranging from its role in the #MeToo movement to the $80 million raised on the platform for Hurricane Harvey relief.
Speaking before thousands of developers whose access to Facebook has grown more restrictive due to new privacy measures Zuckerberg said that “the hardest decision I made this year wasn’t to invest so much in safety and security. That decision was easy . . . The hard part was figuring out a way to move forward on everything else we need to do, too.” He added that the company has begun approving new apps after suspending the process in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“We will make mistakes and they will have consequences and we’ll need to fix them,” Zuckerberg said. That isn’t exactly “move fast and break things”—an early slogan Facebook stopped using a few years ago—but it did sound like an acknowledgment that the company won’t ever reach a point of uncontroversial serenity, even as it works harder to fight abuse of its platform.