Zuckerberg says Facebook critics too "negative" on 15th anniversary

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-05 19:36:35|Editor: xuxin
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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that Facebook's critics were simply being too "negative" about changes inspired by the company.

"As networks of people replace traditional hierarchies and reshape many institutions in our society -- from government to business to media to communities and more -- there is a tendency of some people to lament this change, to overly emphasize the negative," Zuckerberg said in a note marking the company's 15th anniversary.

For more than a year, Facebook has been struggling to handle problems plaguing the world's largest media network, including accusations of the company's failure to protect its user data from allegedly being used to influence the U.S. 2016 presidential elections, presence of hatred and extremist speech on the platform, and the leakage of user privacy in hacking attacks.

He said people in some cases went so far as to describe the "shift to empowering people in the ways the internet and these networks do" as mostly harmful to society.

He argued that any rapid social change creates uncertainty, although the long term trend is to reshape society to be more open and accountable over time.

"The last 15 years were about people building these new networks and starting to see their impact, then the next 15 years will be about people using their power to remake society," said Zuckerberg.

The Facebook CEO recounted in the note his "dorm room decision" to launch "a simple website organized around people," which has now grown into a global giant with more than 2 billion active users.

Zuckerberg created Facebook on Feb. 4, 2004, at Harvard University and within a month of the launch, half of Harvard students became Facebook members.

Zuckerberg said the first decade of people wiring up their networks was an exhilarating time.

"It took about four years for 100 million people to connect, and less than a decade for 1 billion people to connect," he said.

Facebook has become the most popular social media platform in the world in 15 years, and Zuckerberg's net worth has exploded to more than 60 billion U.S. dollars, making him one of the richest people in the world.

James Lei, chairman of Head, Investment and M&A Group, said Facebook is the biggest and most successful form of social media and seized what the market needed most -- a platform where people connected with each other.

"When people are looking for connections, they want to know how to find each other in the simplest, most convenient way," he said.

"As part of human nature, people are always willing to express themselves, either in their friends' circle or beyond, and this is the very motivation that leads to Facebook's success and becomes a game-changer on the market," he added.

In Monday's commemorative post, Zuckerberg wrote about Facebook's first step to what fundamentally changed the relationship between people in more than a decade.

"At the time, it struck me that there were many websites to find almost anything -- books, music, news, information, businesses -- except for what actually matters most: people," said Zuckerberg.

In 15 years, Facebook grew to become a mega social media network with global impact.

However, while Facebook rose swiftly to be a social media powerhouse that almost dominated the internet, it has been questioned for its control on users' free expression and handling of user privacy.

It was even accused of letting a Russian research agency promote propaganda and fake news on the internet in 2018 to "sow discord" in the United States.

As a social media leader, Facebook will continue to grow after managing its challenges, including disputes on the leakage of user privacy, Lei said.

Some believe Facebook has gotten too big and needs to be broken up.

But Lei disagrees, saying he does not see Facebook as having an absolute monopoly of the entire industry, from upstream to downstream.

"As long as there are other competing social media firms on the market, such as Instagram and Twitter," Lei said, "I don't see any possibility of that scenario happening in the foreseeable future," he said.