Facebook at 15: Zuckerberg still thinks he's empowering you all

Also, Facebook's spending a fortune on safety and security these days.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Mark Zuckerberg is under intense scrutiny after a year of major scandals.

James Martin/CNET

Monday marks the 15th anniversary of when Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook . In that short decade and a half, it's gone from a project in his Harvard dorm room to an internet titan, used by more than 2.7 billion people.

It hasn't been an easy ride. 

Zuckerberg has become a polarizing figure, particularly in the past couple years. He and the tech industry broadly have grappled with privacy screw-ups like Cambridge Analytica, or hacks and major security concerns. Both Zuckerberg and his leadership team have been criticized for underhanded political activity. And don't forget ongoing concerns that Facebook is being used for Russian election interference and to inspire ethnic cleansing.

"These are all critical issues, and we have a responsibility to manage these networks more proactively to prevent harm," Zuckerberg wrote in a post Monday, reflecting on the anniversary. And he noted that Facebook is now spending more on security than the $5.1 billion in revenue the company reported during its 2012 IPO (PDF).

Zuckerberg also rang a note of optimism. He said that while some people are uncomfortable with the changes social networks like his have brought to society, they ultimately are doing good. 

"Before the internet, if you had different views or interests from the people in your neighborhood, it was harder to find a community that shared your interests. If someone you knew moved away, you'd often lose touch. If you wanted to raise attention for an issue, you usually had to go through politicians or the press -- someone with the power to distribute your message. If you wanted to reach new customers for your business, you often had to buy expensive ads or billboards," he wrote. "Now, you can connect with anyone and use your voice."

You can read his entire post below:

Fifteen years ago today, I launched the first version of the Facebook website from my college dorm. At the time, it...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, February 4, 2019

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