Zuckerberg pledges to host debates after Facebook's turbulent 2018

The Facebook chief executive will host public discussions to address concerns around social media and technology.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is planning to speak up more in 2019 in a bid to address some of the anxieties around social media.

The chief executive has pledged to host a series of public discussions every few weeks to talk about the future of technology with leaders and experts, following a tough 2018 for Facebook marred by data privacy concerns and scrutiny about the influence of fake news and other content circulated on its platform.

“My challenge for 2019 is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“The opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties. Every few weeks I’ll talk with leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields and I’ll try different formats to keep it interesting. These will all be public, either on my Facebook or Instagram pages or on other media.”

Every year I take on a personal challenge to learn something new. I've built an AI for my home, run 365 miles, visited…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The 34-year-old entrepreneur admitted that the effort would be a “personal challenge” but said it was necessary to shape the future of technology in society.

“I’m an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they’d mostly speak for themselves,” he went on. “But given the importance of what we do, that doesn’t cut it anymore.

“So I’m going to put myself out there more than I’ve been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the trade-offs we face, and where we want to go.”

(Niall Carson/PA)

The move comes amid mounting pressure for Facebook to be more transparent about its practices in light of incidents such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mr Zuckerberg was empty seated by an international grand committee on fake news in November, after he declined to attend a session to answer questions in Westminster from politicians.

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