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Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's resolution

Every year, Mark Zuckerberg sets a personal challenge. In 2009, to stress Facebook's need to focus on
January 4 · Issue #56 · View online
The Interface
Every year, Mark Zuckerberg sets a personal challenge. In 2009, to stress Facebook’s need to focus on its core business, he wore a tie every day. In 2010, he learned Mandarin. And in 2018 — well, in 2018, the challenge feels much more public than it does personal:
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.
My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. 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.
This may not seem like a personal challenge on its face, but I think I’ll learn more by focusing intensely on these issues than I would by doing something completely separate. These issues touch on questions of history, civics, political philosophy, media, government, and of course technology. I’m looking forward to bringing groups of experts together to discuss and help work through these topics. 
Zuckerberg goes on to talk about the centralization of power into the hands of governments and a few big tech companies, and whether encryption and crytptocurrencies can push back against that. (Intriguingly, he also mentions an interest in “how to best use them in our own,” paving the first few stones on the road to FaceCoin.)
Takes on this year’s challenge moved fast and broke pageviews. Matt Yglesias called Zuck a good politician. John Herrman more or less called him an AI. But by far the most common take was the easiest. As Fast Company’s Cale Weissman put it: “congrats to mark zuckerberg whose new year’s resolution is to do his job.”
On one hand, events may have forced Zuckerberg to make 2018 his year of fixing Facebook. As Jim Prosser, ex-Google and -Twitter PR, tweeted: “Was in a position where he had to do this. Any other commitment would have been thrown back in his face with every new incident.” This was not the time, in other words, for Zuckerberg to announce that he planned to take up sailing.
And yet I take Zuckerberg at his word that he plans an intense, multi-front effort to shore up the platform. He knows that the combination of foreign interference, hate speech, and the Time Well Spent movement pose a risk to the company that could turn existential. The dominant narrative about the company has turned negative, and looks to be staying that way.
The company’s core business is fine and its product teams, led by Instagram, are essentially running themselves. What else would he focus on? (Getting back into China, maybe.)
Obvious though Zuckerberg’s personal challenge might be, it’s still jarring to hear the CEO of one of the world’s most financially successful companies announce, at the start of the year, that he intends to spend the next 12 months figuring out how to fix it.
I wish him well. 

Mark Zuckerberg's personal challenge for 2018: Fix Facebook
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