Cool Leaders

Introducing the Facebook Independent Oversight Board

By Mark Zuckerberg

One of the most important projects I’ve worked on over the past couple of years is establishing an independent Oversight Board that our community can appeal to on some of the hardest questions about what content is allowed on our services. Today we’re publishing the board’s charter which articulates how it will operate and uphold its duty to protect free expression for our community. Below is a letter I wrote to go along with the charter and discuss why I think this is important.

Facebook is built to give people a voice. Free expression is fundamental to who we are as a company, just as it is to a free, inclusive and democratic society. We believe the more people who have the power to express themselves, the more progress our society makes together. We want to make sure our products and policies support this.

We also recognize that there are times when people use their voice to endanger others. That’s why we have Community Standards to articulate what is and isn’t allowed on our platforms. When we enforce these policies, we follow a set of values — authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity — guided by international human rights standards. Our commitment to free expression is paramount, but we still need to keep people safe and take down harmful content.

We are responsible for enforcing our policies every day and we make millions of content decisions every week. But ultimately I don’t believe private companies like ours should be making so many important decisions about speech on our own. That’s why I’ve called for governments to set clearer standards around harmful content. It’s also why we’re now giving people a way to appeal our content decisions by establishing the independent Oversight Board.

If someone disagrees with a decision we’ve made, they can appeal to us first, and soon they will be able to further appeal to this independent board. The board’s decision will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it. The board will use our values to inform its decisions and explain its reasoning openly and in a way that protects people’s privacy.

The board will be an advocate for our community — supporting people’s right to free expression, and making sure we fulfill our responsibility to keep people safe. As an independent organization, we hope it gives people confidence that their views will be heard, and that Facebook doesn’t have the ultimate power over their expression. Just as our Board of Directors keeps Facebook accountable to our shareholders, we believe the Oversight Board can do the same for our community.

Over the past year, we’ve gotten feedback from experts around the world on what this board should look like. We’ve researched similar bodies, released a draft charter, run a public consultation process, engaged in workshops and published a summary of the feedback. This charter reflects much of what we’ve heard, and it gives answers to some of the biggest questions we’ve been considering: How should board members be selected? How do we protect their independence from Facebook but also make sure they’re committed to our principles? How do people petition the board? How does the board decide which cases to hear?

In this charter, Facebook is making several commitments to the board. We’re committing to implement the board’s content decisions and taking action regarding its advisory opinions on our policies. We’re committing to preserving and protecting the board’s ability to exercise its independent judgement. And we’re committing to providing the board with the information and resources it needs to make informed decisions.

This charter brings us another step closer to establishing the board, but there is a lot of work still ahead. We expect the board will only hear a small number of cases at first, but over time we hope it will expand its scope and potentially include more companies across the industry as well.

Building institutions that protect free expression and online communities is important for the future of the internet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the board evolves. Thank you to everyone who has given their time, effort and energy to this project to help get it right.

You can read the full charter here.

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Facebook Dating

By Mark Zuckerberg

One of my favorite things about building Facebook is I can walk through almost any city in the world and people will stop and tell me stories about how they met their husband or wife through Facebook. It’s a great feeling. And until recently, Facebook didn’t even have any features to help with dating.

Starting today, we’re launching Facebook Dating in the US. I’m excited to see how it’ll help people come together and find love around interests, groups and events in common. We’ve worked with privacy and security experts from the beginning to make it safe and give you control over your experience. Facebook Dating is now live in 20 countries and I’m looking forward to launching more soon.

Cool Leaders

Introducing Libra

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By Mark Zuckerberg

Today, Facebook is coming together with 27 organizations around the world to start the non-profit Libra Association and create a new currency called Libra.

Libra’s mission is to create a simple global financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the world. It’s powered by blockchain technology and the plan is to launch it in 2020. You can read more about the association here: https://libra.org/

Being able to use mobile money can have an important positive impact on people’s lives because you don’t have to always carry cash, which can be insecure, or pay extra fees for transfers. This is especially important for people who don’t have access to traditional banks or financial services. Right now, there are around a billion people who don’t have a bank account but do have a mobile phone.

We aspire to make it easy for everyone to send and receive money just like you use our apps to instantly share messages and photos. To enable this, Facebook is also launching an independent subsidiary called Calibra that will build services that let you send, spend and save Libra — starting with a digital wallet that will be available in WhatsApp and Messenger and as a standalone app next year.

Calibra will be regulated like other payment service providers. Any information you share with Calibra will be kept separate from information you share on Facebook. From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone at low to no cost. Over time, we hope to offer more services for people and businesses — like paying bills with the push of a button, buying coffee with the scan of a code, or riding local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

In addition to our efforts, many other companies will build their own services using Libra — from payment companies like Mastercard, PayPal, PayU, Stripe and Visa, to popular services like Booking, eBay, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify and Uber, to non-profits doing important work around financial inclusion like Kiva, Mercy Corps and Women’s World Banking, to companies in the crypto space like Anchorage, Coinbase, Xapo, and Bison Trails. A number of leading Venture firms are also joining to help drive innovation on the Libra network. We’re hoping to have over 100 cofounding members of the Libra Association by the time the network launches next year.

All of this is built on blockchain technology. It’s decentralized — meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs. And it’s secured by cryptography which helps keep your money safe.

This is an important part of our vision for a privacy-focused social platform — where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately, from messaging to secure payments.

Privacy and safety will be built into every step. For example, Calibra will have a dedicated team of experts in risk management focused on preventing people from using Calibra for fraudulent purposes. We’ll provide fraud protection so if you lose your Libra coins, we’ll offer refunds. We also believe it’s important for people to have choices so you’ll have the options to use many other third-party wallets on the Libra network.

There’s still a lot more to learn and do before Libra will be ready to officially launch. We know it’s a major undertaking and responsibility — and we’re committed to getting this right. We’ve been working with policymakers and experts in areas like financial inclusion, economics, security, privacy and blockchain, and we’ll continue listening to their feedback as we figure out the best way to move forward. We’re thankful for their partnership, and for all the businesses, organizations, and academic institutions that are part of the Libra Association.

This is the beginning of an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon.

Cool Leaders

Let me make some things clear about my school strike

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By Greta Thunberg on Facebook

Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.

So let me make some things clear about my school strike.

In May 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.

I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.

I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.

When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.
On the 20 of august I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.

Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people ”behind me” or that I’m being ”paid” or ”used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one ”behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.

I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.

And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.
Furthermore I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.

My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses.

That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in august instead.

Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book ”Scener ur hjärtat” will be going to 8 different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses and animal rights.

And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.

Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been ”normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things – like just sitting down outside the parliament – speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.

Also there is one complaint that I ”sound and write like an adult”. And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that “the climate crisis is a black and white issue”, ”we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases” and ”I want you to panic”. But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.
And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.

There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m ”just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed – just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to – then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.

I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.

And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk, in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began.

And thank you everyone for you kind support! It brings me hope.

Cool Leaders

Mark Zuckerberg: Going into 2019, we’re focused on four priorities

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By Mark Zuckerberg

We just released our community update and quarterly results.

We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues and have made significant progress. We’re also investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect and build community.

You can read my full update on the progress we are making towards the important opportunities and challenges we face along with our top priorities for 2019. Thanks for being on this journey with us.

Our community continues to grow and our business delivered good results this quarter. There are now 2.7 billion people using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month, and more than 2 billion people who use at least one of our services every day.

On our last call, I talked about our overall strategy as we face some important opportunities and challenges. Today I want to give you an update and talk about our priorities for 2019.

For the past couple of years, most of our focus and energy has gone into addressing some of the biggest social issues around the future of the internet — including election integrity, content governance, safety and security, data privacy, and digital well-being. These are all complex issues, but we’ve made real progress. In many of these areas we believe we’ve built the most advanced systems in the world – in many cases more advanced than any other company or government. And in other areas we have clear roadmaps ahead. Still, there’s a lot more to do, and I expect it will take strong execution through 2019 and beyond before we get all our systems to the levels we need.

But we’ve fundamentally changed how we run this company. We’ve changed how we build services to focus more on preventing harm. We’ve invested billions of dollars in security, which has affected our profitability. We’ve taken steps that reduced engagement in WhatsApp to stop misinformation, and reduced viral videos in Facebook by more than 50 million hours a day to improve well-being.

We’ve made significant progress, and we’re going to continue this work. But we’re also going to allocate more of our energy to building new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.

Going into 2019, we’re focused on four priorities:

First, continue making progress on the major social issues facing the internet and our company.

Second, build new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives today and set the stage for even bigger improvements in the future.

Third, keep building our business by supporting the millions of businesses — mostly small businesses — that rely on our services to grow and create jobs.

And fourth, communicate more transparently about what we’re doing and the role our services play in the world.

I want to take a minute to talk about each of these.

First, continue making progress on the major social issues.

The most important work here is to keep executing our roadmap to build systems that can proactively identify harmful content so we can act on it sooner. We just finished a year of very heavy investment to get these systems to a better place, and we’ve seen the results of that in recent elections, including the US midterms, and in our transparency reports where we report what percent of violating content we identify proactively. We ended 2018 with more than 30,000 people working on safety and security — up from 10,000 people a couple of years ago.

This work will never be finished, but I now believe we’ve built some of the most advanced systems in the world for dealing with these issues. However, this raises a broader set of values questions about how to use these systems.

One question is about who decides what speech is acceptable and what isn’t. Right now we have a deliberative process of consulting with experts around the world. But I’ve increasingly come to believe that we shouldn’t be making so many of these decisions about content ourselves. In November, I wrote a note on A Blueprint for a System of Content Governance and Enforcement, which includes giving people the ability to appeal our internal content decisions to an independent body. We’re currently working with experts to design this system, and we plan to start piloting it this half.

Another important issue is the future of privacy and encryption. People really value the privacy that encrypted messaging brings, and we’ve built the most secure global messaging service in the world. As people increasingly share more privately, we’re working on making more of our products end-to-end encrypted by default, and making more of our products ephemeral so your information doesn’t stick around forever. I’ll discuss this more over the coming quarters.

Our second priority for 2019 is that as we make progress on these social issues, we also need to deliver new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives. I’m not talking about the many day-to-day iterative improvements we make so that ranking gets a bit better or things get somewhat faster, but major improvements to people’s lives that whole communities recognize and say “wow, we’re all doing something new on Facebook or WhatsApp that we weren’t doing before”. The last experience like this was Stories which continues to grow very quickly – for example, Instagram just passed 500M daily actives on Stories. But the reality is we’ve put most of our energy into security over the past 18 months so that building new experiences wasn’t the priority over that period.

This year I think we’re going to deliver several of these experiences:

Messaging is the area that’s growing the most quickly, and this year people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries. Private sharing in groups and stories will become more central to the experience. We’re going to onboard millions of more businesses that people can interact with.

In Facebook, the way people experience groups and communities will continue to deepen. We’re going to get to a point soon where people feel like Facebook is about communities as much as it’s about your friends and family — where almost everyone is in a group that is meaningful to them and that community is a central part of their experience.

On Facebook, I also expect this to be the year where Watch becomes more mainstream. There are now 400 million people who use it every month, and people spend on average over 20 minutes on Watch daily. This means we’re finding ways for video to grow outside of News Feed so it doesn’t displace the social interactions that people primarily come to our services for.

In Instagram, one of the areas I’m most excited about this year is commerce and shopping. There’s a lot of natural activity happening here, and this year I expect us to deliver some qualitatively new experiences around that.

Longer term, I remain very focused on building technology that brings people together in new ways, including through AR and VR. I’m looking forward to Oculus Quest shipping this spring — the feedback there so far has been very positive. And I’ve also been positively surprised that Portal has done even better than I expected it to. I love using it with my own family, but we’d never shipped Facebook-branded hardware before, and a lot of people said this would be a difficult time to start, so I’m pleased that so many people are enjoying this experience of being able to feel closer to the people they care about, even when they’re physically far apart.

Our third priority is to continue strong execution on our business.

In the past couple of years, a lot of our business challenges have been self-imposed. The reality is that we had a number of substantive issues that we needed to address, and the investments we made in safety, security, privacy, and well-being both increased our costs and in some cases reduced our revenues. But as I said at the time, I believe these investments are the right thing to do and will make our community and our business stronger over the long term.

And what we’ve seen is that the fundamentals of the business remain strong. More than 90 million small businesses now use our products — the vast majority of them for free — and of those we surveyed, half tell us that they’ve been able to grow their businesses and hire more people since joining Facebook. This means they’re using our services to create millions of jobs. This is one of the most important contributions that we feel we can make to the world. To put this in perspective, the US economy added about 2.6 million jobs last year.

Our last priority is to get out there more and make the case for the role our services play in the world.

Right now there’s a lot of negativity about the impact of technology — some of it is fair and some of it is misplaced. And we and the tech industry overall should be scrutinized heavily because we play a role in many people’s lives. My approach here is to listen to the critique first, work on addressing our issues, figure out what we believe are the most important principles to uphold, and then go and engage in the debate.

I feel like we’ve come out of 2018 not only having made real progress on important issues, but having a clearer sense of what we believe are the right ways to move forward. We’re still going to make mistakes along the way, but we now have a clearer sense of the path ahead. We’re ready to work with people to understand our role and move towards good outcomes — whether that’s regulation on content or data, cooperation on shared threats, working openly to make sure AI best serves people, or just standing up for the kind of open and connected world that we all want to see.

The internet is a massive force for change, and we’re at the center of a lot of the debate that brings. But our core value to people and society remains the same: we offer a service, free to everyone, that helps you stay connected with the people you care about, express what you’re thinking and feeling, get help when you need it most, support the causes and ideas you believe in, start and grow businesses no matter where you are. That makes a lot of good possible, and we’re committed to building technology that people can use to create positive change.