Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Zuckerberg to Study Crypto in Quest to Fix Facebook

Zuckerberg to Study Crypto in Quest to Fix Facebook

His 2018 task might be the most ambitious yet: Fix Facebook Inc. He made the announcement in an online post on Facebook.

"There are important counter-trends to this - encryption and cryptocurrency - that take power from centralised systems and put it back into people's hands", Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuckerberg seemed to make reference to these critiques in his New Year's announcement, promising to focus, as he put it, on "making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent."This will be a serious year of self-improvement", he said".

Zuckerberg then vowed to do a better job in enforcing Facebook's policies in the new year saying, "My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues".

The goal shows how starkly Facebook's situation has changed.

The past year has seen the social media company try - and largely fail - to get a handle on the proliferation of misinformation on its platform; acknowledge that it enabled a Russian influence operation to influence the U.S. presidential election; and concede that its products can damage users' mental health.

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At the beginning of 2017, as many liberals were grappling with Donald Trump's election and the widening divisions in American society, Zuckerberg embarked on a series of trips to meet regular Americans in all 50 states. Zuckerberg, however, has warned people about the huge risks associated with the technology.

Over the past 18 months, Facebook has been lambasted for allowing objectionable content, including violent live videos, and fabricated news articles to proliferate on its service.

Facebook was under much scrutiny in 2017 for a litany of issues, including admitting Russians bought ads with the intent to sway the 2016 US elections. The admission sparked a rare set of congressional hearings where lawmakers grilled officials from Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google. The Facebook founder wants to explore how cryptocurrency can be enabled in Facebook services.

Zuckerberg's goal this year: Fix Facebook. That first year the economy was in a deep recession and Facebook was not yet profitable. It was a serious year, and I wore a tie every day as a reminder. But today, many people have lost faith in that promise.

Facebook in particular has gained a reputation for being ruthless in its desire to squash its rivals. "With the rise of a small number of big tech companies and governments using technology to watch their citizens many people now believe technology only centralises power rather than decentralises it".

Last year, he visited every US state in a mission widely interpreted as indicating his hidden ambition to be President.

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