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24 Jun 2024 18:12

Television & Cinema

CNN Exclusive: The Zuckerberg Interview

CNN’s Laurie Segall sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week, in an exclusive broadcast interview – his first in nearly five years. The interview took place of Facebook’s first ever Community Summit in Chicago where the company announced a new mission statement: “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”   

Zuckerberg discusses the thought process behind Facebook’s decision to change its mission statement and expresses his belief that the solution to an increasingly divided world is community and group organisation, telling Segall, “I feel we have a responsibility to do even more.”

In the wide ranging interview, Zuckerberg also touches on his experiences of fatherhood and how he stills thinks it’s vital to ensure that the parts of the world without the internet get connected.

Mark Zuckerberg on the new mission statement:

“We’ve just been thinking about our role and responsibility in the world. A big focus needs to be around building community and trying to bring the whole world closer together. Not just making it open and connected, but actually bringing people closer together.”

“I feel like we have a responsibility to do even more. Today, a lot of society is divided, so it’s pretty clear that just giving people a voice and connecting people isn’t enough. We also have to do work to help bring people closer together. That’s what the new mission is all about. It’s bringing the world closer together so not just simply connecting but also helping to close some of the gaps and help bring people together.”

On the announcement that Facebook made $8 billion in revenue last quarter:

“I think we’re doing OK.”

On Facebook’s new emphasis on Groups:

“A lot of the important stuff that needs to happen in the world [is] global…whether that’s addressing challenges like stopping climate change, or stopping pandemic diseases or terrorism. None of these things can happen just by one country or group of people deciding to do it. There’s no top-down structure to enable that, so the will needs to be built bottom up.”

 “I think [the new tools] give us a good shot within five years or so to get to this goal of connecting a billion people to meaningful communities.”

 On when he realised he needed to change Facebook’s mission:

“I think there need to be organizations in the world that stand for not just helping people connect but really bringing the world closer together and helping bring people together. That’s a good thing to do. Not just technically enabling that to happen, but trying to make that a positive thing for the world.”

On whether the political climate impacted Facebook’s decision:

“I think it’s really this feeling that simply connecting the world is not enough by itself. That you also have to work and do proactive work to help bring people closer together. You need to give people a voice so we can get a diversity of opinions out there, but you also need to do work to help build enough common ground so that way we can make progress as a society together.”

On whether the world is as politically divided as it seems:

“On some political issues I think we are, but on more things than are usually covered, we are not. People have a lot of the same interests. A lot of people like the same sports teams and bond over the same things in their neighbourhoods. We all want to the same things for our families and the people that we care about.”

Full transcript:

Laurie Segall:

Okay. Facebook has had the same mission for as long as you guys have been around. That mission is changing. That’s a very big deal.

Mark Zuckerberg:

 Yeah. We’re here at our first ever Facebook Community Summit. The reason why we’re unveiling it here is we’re talking about … The mission is all about building community. The idea for the last 10 years has been about making the world more open and connected. I used to think that if we just work to give people a voice and help people connect that that was going to make the world all better by itself. I still think those are really important things to do and we’re still going to do them. But, now, I feel like we have a responsibility to do even more. Today, a lot of society is divided, so it’s pretty clear that just giving people a voice and connecting people isn’t enough. We also have to do work to help bring people closer together. That’s what the new mission is all about. It’s bringing the world closer together so not just simply connecting but also helping to close some of the gaps and help bring people together.

 Laurie Segall:

This is what this event is. It’s all about communities whereas before where Facebook’s mission is about sharing, connecting with each other. It almost feels like … You’ve always had such an interesting utopian view of things. It seems like this mission now looking forward is something a little bit … Facebook has grown up a bit. Facebook is looking at some of the biggest challenges and saying, “It’s not just enough for us to connect. We need to build resources for people.”

Mark Zuckerberg:

When I look at the greatest opportunities and challenges for our generation, it’s things like ending poverty. You’re curing diseases or stopping climate change. Those are things that no one group or country can do by themselves. We have to build a world where people can come together to take on these big meaningful efforts. That change just isn’t going to happen top-down. There’s no one in the world who can just snap their fingers and make that happen. What we need to do is empower people all around the world to build communities, things like church groups, and sports teams, and neighbourhood groups, and groups for people who love dogs, and new moms and dads. Those are the groups that actually bring people together. Once people are coming together at these smaller groups, that actually grows and it ends up with much bigger changes in the world.

Laurie Segall:

How are you doing that? You guys are investing quite a bit in groups and giving some resources and that’s why we’re here. How exactly do you do that?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Well, if you think about groups on Facebook today, they’re pretty flat. Everyone is up here which works if you’re trying to build a family group which a lot of the groups on Facebook today currently are. If we are trying to do is run a group that has thousands of people, you need tools to help manage that. That’s a lot of what we’re announcing today. We have 300 of the people here who have built the strongest communities on Facebook. Some of them just have these amazing stories of how they started working to bring people together and it led to big changes.

One of the women here, her name is Lola. She started a secret group on Facebook called Female IN. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this. She describes it as a no judgment support group for women to talk about whatever issues matter the most to them whether it’s issues in their marriage, or in their job, or health, or anything. What she’s found is that people come and start talking about basic issues, but then it actually has given people an outlet for some really important things, too. Now, sometimes women come and talk about domestic violence. Within minutes, she says that people get thousands of messages of support, offers of places to stay and help with childcare. She didn’t start off trying to build a community that was going to change the culture around domestic violence. But, when you start bringing people together and giving people a way to connect, that’s the kind of thing that this can lead to.

That’s what we want to try to unlock in the world, and our view is if we can help build those tools and give more people like Lola in the world the power to build more of those communities, the world is going to be a much better place.

Laurie Segall:

Take me inside Mark Zuckerberg’s head to the moment that you decided you needed to change Facebook’s core mission. Was there an event that happened or was there just a moment that you said, “We got to change something?”

Mark Zuckerberg:

Well, for most of the last 10 years, this idea that the world should be more connected was not very controversial. Now, I think they’re starting to be some people who question whether that is good. For the last 10 years, we’ve really just focused on let’s give people a voice and let’s help people connect, and then a lot of things will just take care of themselves. But, now, I think there need to be organizations in the world that stand for not just helping people connect but really bringing the world closer together and helping bring people together. That’s a good thing to do. Not just technically enabling that to happen, but trying to make that a positive thing for the world.

Just through this evolution, where for me and for a lot of the people I work with at Facebook, we feel like giving people a voice is a really important thing to do both to share everyday things like baby photos that we all love and important opinions on broader issues. But, it’s not enough to just give people a voice. You also have to help build common ground. That way people can move forward together and aren’t just sharing a lot of different opinions, but you actually have to help reconcile that so that way people can come together as well. That’s a lot of the responsibility that we feel now and the mission that we want to take on for the next 10 years in the company.

Laurie Segall:

We keep hearing, “We’ve never been more divided. We’ve never been more polarized,” and there’s the question of are we more insular? Was it the political climate that led to this awakening? I hear in your voice, I hear a sense of responsibility and a sense of we have to do something. We have to make a difference and not just … We had to put our money where our mouth is. Was it the political climate?

Mark Zuckerberg:

I think it’s really this feeling that simply connecting the world is not enough by itself. That you also have to work and do proactive work to help bring people closer together. You need to give people a voice so we can get a diversity of opinions out there, but you also need to do work to help build enough common ground so that way we can make progress as a society together. You want to help people stay connected with the people they already know and care about, but you also want to make it so people get access to new people and new perspectives, too. We need support from our family and friends, but we also need to build broader communities that support us as well. I view this new mission as an expansion of what we’re already doing.

We feel more responsibility to help bring people together in the world, so we’re going to keep on doing everything that we were doing before to connect friends and family and to help people share. But, now we also want to help people build communities and other ways that they can connect and help people bond and come together and spread tolerance and a lot of the values that I think we all want to see in the world.

Laurie Segall:

Let me ask you how you do that because technology, to a degree, has always promised to help us discover and to help us learn. Then, there’s also the question of does it make us more insular? Is information being hijacked and spread? As you make the future of Facebook these communities, how do you make sure they remain a place for authenticity and for real discourse for the kind of communication that you started Facebook and that you believe is the future?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Well, a lot of what these communities are whether they’re church groups, or sports teams, or people connecting because they’re all locksmiths, or birdwatchers, or whatever it is, people are connecting over something that they have in common. There’s a lot of research that shows that if you want to engage on issues that you disagree on, the things that society is divided on, the first thing that you need to do is connect over your common humanity. That can be something as simple as we both have families, or we both like TV show together, or we both like the Chicago Cubs, or whatever it is. Bringing people together and creating these communities is, I think, a lot of what we can do to help create more civil and productive debate on some of the bigger issues as well.

Laurie Segall:

What have you had to learn from the spread of misinformation or what have you learned as you built these to make sure that they are a place where people can really connect because that’s the future?

Mark Zuckerberg:

I mean the biggest thing that I’ve learned as I’ve travelled around is that great communities have great leaders who are engaged and who just feel an ownership of taking care of the people in their groups. When you think about a church community, it doesn’t come together by itself. It has a pastor who looks out for everyone in the congregation. If someone hits on hard times, then they’re going to make sure that they have food and shelter. A Little League team. It has a coach that helps to motivate the kids and help teach them how to hit or whatever else it is that the Little League teams need to be able to do. Great communities need to have great leaders.

One of the things that I think that we can do is just empower leaders and all these folks who want to start communities around the world to do this. This isn’t a new idea for us. We have more than 70 million small businesses that run pages and are admins on Facebook. We have this whole roadmap of work that we’ve done to empower page admin. Now, we want to do a lot of similar work around empowering people to build communities around the world, and I think that if we can do that that we’re going to enable many more communities to get started and rebuild that bridge both online and offline. I feel that’s going to be a very powerful thing in the world.

Laurie Segall:

You’ve spent a good amount of time traveling around the country and sitting at the dinner table with folks in Ohio, Indiana, going to factories. Are we as divided as it seems?

Mark Zuckerberg:

On some political issues I think we are, but on more things than are usually covered, we are not. People have a lot of the same interests. A lot of people like the same sports teams and bond over the same things in their neighbourhoods. We all want to the same things for our families and the people that we care about. One of the things that has been really inspiring to me as I’ve gone around is I’ve seen people who I might disagree with on different things, but you really come away with this feeling that people genuinely do care about helping and caring for other people. That just gives me a lot of faith that we can rebuild communities and build new ones that will help to first bring people together at small scale, but eventually I think bring the whole world together to accomplish some of the greatest opportunities and solve some of the greatest challenges that we have together.

Laurie Segall:

You’re a father now. When you look at your daughter’s future, how has being a father changed what you want Facebook to look like for her generation?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Oh, that’s tough. Well, first of all, she’s only about 18 months old. First, right now, I’m mostly focused on teaching her her letters. We’ll maybe get to technology and programming in a few years but I do look forward to that.

What I care about is helping everyone express themselves and helping come together around that. We’ve seen that, as time goes on, people just get more tools to do that where you can connect with friends. Now, we want to help people build more communities, too. In the past, you’ve been able to share text and photos. In the future, you’ll be able to share videos, and I think by the time that Max is all grown up virtual reality will be a big thing that a lot of people are doing. But, first, we have to work on the letters with her. She’s doing pretty well but there’s a little more to do there.

Laurie Segall:

Facebook is nearing two billion users. How do you ensure for the next billion users that Facebook is a good place for democracy?

Mark Zuckerberg:

This is something that we care a lot about in terms of … We want to give everyone in the world a voice to express what matters to them and help bring people together to be able to solve important challenges. One of the big things that I think that we need to do is just help connect the half of the world that’s not on the internet to the internet, and that sounds like a very basic thing. You and I probably take that for granted because we’ve had the internet for a while. But, for a lot of people and a lot of parts of the world, just having access to share your opinion or send a message to your partner or your friend or learn what the prices are for products at the market, look up basic jobs, those are important things that a lot of people don’t have an equal opportunity and access to do. Then there are a lot of things that we can do to solve this.

 At Facebook, we’re building technology like solar powered planes to beam down internet access to places that might be remote islands or in the middle of a rainforest. We’re working on new business models with operators to do this. But, this remains one of the things that I’m most excited about for the next decade and beyond is just unlocking access to the internet for the next three or four billion people. I think if we can do that, it’s not just going to spread opportunity, but it’s going to make it so that all these folks who today don’t have the tools to start businesses or create new tools, they’ll now be able to make our lives better, too, and that’s going to be a very powerful thing. That’s one of the things that I’m most excited about.

Laurie Segall:

It’s an incredibly big deal that Facebook is completely overhauling its mission and has a new mission. What is the new mission of Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Our new mission is to bring the world closer together. For the last decade, our mission has been to make the world more open and connected, and we’ve been really focused on these ideas. Giving everyone a voice and helping to connect people, especially with their friends and family. I think those are really good things and we’re going to keep doing them. We’re definitely not done with that mission yet. But, now, I just feel like we have a responsibility to do more in the world. When you look at the world today, giving people a voice and helping people connect are good and they’ve made the world better in a lot of ways but our society is still very divided. That means that people need to work proactively to help bring people closer together. It’s not just enough to help us simply connect. We need to work to bring the world closer together as well.

Source:CNN

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