Zuckerberg claims more Facebook sharing leads to world peace

Technically Incorrect: In remarks in Germany, Facebook's CEO asserts that the more we put out there, the more we'll care about others. Really?

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Mark Zuckerberg, sharing at the Axel Springer event.

Axel screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Facebook, like any other technology, brings with it positives and negatives.

It's positive that you can tell everyone about every wonderful thing you're involved in. It's positive that you can see what your exes are up to. And of course, it's positive that if you're on the run, you can conveniently taunt the police should you feel the need.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the social network's pluses go beyond even those lovely scenarios.

Speaking this week at a ceremony where he was receiving an award for entrepreneurial spirit from German publisher Axel Springer, Zuckerberg made an interesting claim.

"Facebook's mission, and what we really focus on giving everyone, is the power to share all of the things that they care about, what they're thinking about, what they're experiencing on a day-to-day basis," he said. "And the idea is that if everyone has the power to share those things, then that makes the world more understanding."

As I look around the world, I'm not sure I find people terribly understanding at all.

Loathing seems to be even more dominant than fear -- or perhaps the latter merely stems from the former. Sides are being drawn all over the world with such rigid certainty that soon there will be thousands of very high walls that need building.

Yet everyone's on Facebook, so shouldn't they have shown a little more careful thought about, and understanding toward, others by now?

Why hasn't this happened?

Or might it be that this is merely a difficult phase we're going through? We need to share more and more things on Facebook to reach the point at which we all say, "Ah, my fellow human of different faith, color or political persuasion, now I fully understand you."

Evidence for my doubt exists at Facebook itself. The very same day Zuckerberg was speaking, he was forced to send a memo to his own staff ordering them to stop defacing "Black Lives Matter" messages on the company's legendary walls. That's not a great advertisement for understanding.

Zuckerberg has been insisting Facebook has vast societal benefits for quite some time.

During Facebook's IPO in 2012, he spoke of Facebook's "social mission." He said that the social network gives people the power to share and thereby "transform many of our core institutions and industries." He claimed that giving people the power to share made the world "more transparent."

The more Facebook steps into geopolitical areas, the more its utterances seem at the very least facile and at the most depressingly and obviously self-serving.

India had very good reasons not to accept Facebook's Free Basics service, which promised to give Indians Internet access, while at the same time controlling what sites came with that access.

And only last month the company's COO, Sheryl Sandberg, suggested that Facebook "likes" are a good way to combat ISIS.


Thanks to Facebook, we may see more and hear more from other people -- though how much we bother looking and listening is another matter.

What's more disturbing to some is that Facebook's algorithm determines the very things we do or don't see and hear.

To claim that the more people post on Facebook, the greater understanding there will be is akin to claiming that the more books you read, the wiser you will be.

It depends how you read, what you take in and whether you can transfer any knowledge gained into real-life action.

Life, you see, is complicated. Facebook is not.