Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said his personal challenge for 2018 is to “fix” the social site and how it handles hate, abuse and fake news.
The social network platform’s founder said the firm was making “too many errors” when enforcing its policies and stopping misuse of the site.
The platform has been repeatedly criticised in the last year for its attitude to removing extreme and abusive content, and faced questions over the role and ease with which fake news is able to spread on the site.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg said he wanted the year to be one of “self-improvement” for the social site, but stopped short of announcing any clear policy plans.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
In December, Conservative MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee accused Facebook of doing virtually “no work” to help a parliamentary investigation into fake news and allegations of Russian interference in British politics.
While in a separate appearance before the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, Facebook – along with Twitter and Google – was accused of profiting from hate being circulated on its platform and warned to “accelerate” its efforts to prevent such content appearing.
Mr Zuckerburg also said he wanted to discuss the power of technology companies in the modern world.
“A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralising force that puts more power in people’s hands,” he said.
“The first four words of Facebook’s mission have always been “give people the power”. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, most people believed technology would be a decentralising force.
“But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. 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.
“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralised systems and put it back into people’s hands.
“But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.
“This will be a serious year of self-improvement and I’m looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together.”
The social media boss has announced a personal challenge every year since 2009, having previously pledged to visit every US state, learn Mandarin and built an artificial intelligence system for his home.