Published: Tue, February 21, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

Zuckerberg praises Modi for connecting with masses via Facebook

Zuckerberg praises Modi for connecting with masses via Facebook

That's the overarching message of a 6,000-word missive he published on Thursday.

He also addressed critics who believe that Facebook has not done enough to combat fake news, including posts that some people said influenced the presidential election - an idea Zuckerberg previously called "pretty insane".

"Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community", Zuckerberg said in his letter.

Citing the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, Zuckerberg explained how social networks can help establish governments of various countries connect with people.

In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote, "The most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure.to build a global community that works for all of us".

At the time, Mr Zuckerberg called the claims "crazy" and rejected the idea that Facebook users existed in "bubbles" where they only see news which reflects their viewpoints. "Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection", Zuckerberg wrote.

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The anti-globalization movement has taken hold in other countries as well, with the United Kingdom voting to withdraw from the European Union and rightist Marine LePen showing a strong chance of becoming France's next president. Obviously these are all tough challenges to tackle, but Zuckerberg noted that Facebook's work on artificial intelligence could make a difference. It pledges to identify news sources that provide a broad range of perspectives.

"We take our responsibility seriously, and today I want to talk about how we plan to do our part to build this global community".

Zuckerberg said that Facebook could move far beyond its roots as a network for friends and families to communicate, suggesting that it can play a role in five areas, all of which he referred to as "communities", ranging from strengthening traditional institutions, to providing help during and after crises, to boosting civic engagement. "Online communities are a bright spot, and we can strengthen existing physical communities by helping people come together online as well as offline", Zuckerberg says.

"If you really keep it free and allow all sides to speak, I'm all for it, but if you try to silence one side in favor of the other, you're being disingenuous", said one Facebook user. Many responses were positive, including a few obligatory posts by current and former Facebook employees, but there were also quite a few that questioned Zuckerberg's motives in pushing globalization.

If you have patience and time, you can read Zuckerberg's full-length letter here.

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