Mark Zuckerberg explains why he just changed Facebook's mission


Mark Zuckerberg has spent the last dozen years making sure you know what your friends' babies look like and what your high school friends think about politics.


And, of course, transforming media and politics by presenting news and opinion -- true and fake -- to billions of people around the world.

Now the Facebook CEO is acknowledging that connecting people online isn't enough.

"We used to have a sense that if we could just do those things, then that would make a lot of the things in the world better by themselves," Zuckerberg told CNN Tech. "But now we realize that we need to do more too. It's important to give people a voice, to get a diversity of opinions out there, but on top of that, you also need to do this work of building common ground so that way we can all move forward together."

The company even has a new mission statement: "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."

This marks the first time the company has overhauled its mission, which had previously been "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."

Zuckerberg believes he has just the tool for the job: Facebook Groups, which are now used by a billion people.

"A lot of what we can do is to help create a more civil and productive debate on some of the bigger issues as well," Zuckerberg told CNN Tech's Laurie Segall in Chicago on Wednesday night. It was his first in-depth interview for television since 2012.

Facebook (FB, Tech30) debuted the new Groups features at the start of its first "Communities Summit" in Chicago. Three hundred Facebook Group administrators from across the country are attending the two-day event to hear speeches from Zuckerberg and other executives, and attend panels on topics like conflict resolution.

The administrators represent the variety of groups that have sprung up on Facebook, including Mormon mothers supporting their gay children, people suffering from rare diseases, and mental health support for veterinarians, who have a surprisingly high rate of suicide.

Related: Zuckerberg talks automation and immigration in Harvard speech

On Facebook: 'I think we're doing OK'

The new emphasis on Groups is the culmination of months of public appearances and posts by Zuckerberg stressing the importance of community. He's been traveling around the U.S., professional photographer in tow, to meet people from every state. During a commencement speech at Harvard, Zuckerberg touched on hot-button topics like immigration and inequality.

Despite the political tone of the events, Zuckerberg has said he's not running for office. He's sticking to making an impact with the world's most ubiquitous social media platform and its almost 2 billion users.

Zuckerberg tends to phrase things Facebook does in terms of their benefit to humanity, not investors or the company's bottom line. Facebook, which has a market value of about $440 billion, has a responsibility to use its sizable resources to do positive things, he says, and that should naturally create value down the line.

"That's why it helps to have control of the company," he said. (Zuckerberg maintains the majority voting rights at Facebook.)

Facebook has more than 1.9 billion monthly users. It reported $8 billion in revenue last quarter, nearly all of which was from ads. Or, as Zuckerberg puts it, "I think we're doing OK."

But the company has struggled with a number of issues over the past year, including the proliferation of "fake news," live broadcasting of murders, and creating filter bubbles that have contributed to a divided nation. It's part of what pushed Zuckerberg to reexamine Facebook's mission, starting with a 5,726 word post on "Building Global Community" in February.

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