“I think that anything that we’re doing to constrain [big-tech companies] will, first, have an impact on how successful we can be in other places,” he said. “I wouldn’t worry in the near term about Chinese companies or anyone else winning in the U.S., for the most part. But there are all these places where there are day-to-day more competitive situations—in Southeast Asia, across Europe, Latin America, lots of different places.”
2. Why has the company been so passive about ethnic cleansing in Myanmar?
The brutal treatment of the Rohingya people has garnered coverage around the world, with many humanitarian observers pointing their fingers at Facebook’s role in whipping up divisive fervor. Yet the company struggled to even face the problem for years. Zuckerberg offered the promise that the company knows it has problems there.
“We’re taking this seriously,” he said. “You can’t just snap your fingers and solve these problems. It takes time to hire the people and train them, and to build the systems that can flag stuff for them.”
He also said that he “hates” that Facebook is “not moving as quickly as we would like.”
3. Why is Mark Zuckerberg obsessed with Augustus, the Roman emperor?
In perhaps the most fascinating section of the profile, Zuckerberg described his interest in Augustus, who, by his description, “through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace.”
His interest is longstanding. “My wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her, and Augustus,” Zuckerberg said of a 2012 trip to Rome. “All the photos were different sculptures of Augustus.”
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The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos suggests that Zuckerberg is interested in the way the Roman leaders had to deal with very tough “trade-offs,” as Zuckerberg put it. Ancient Rome had “good and bad and complex figures” who were working out issues of power and the common good. What should one be willing to do to bring 200 years of world peace? Mark Zuckerberg has clearly considered this particular scale of justice.
4. Is “fake news” an overblown problem?
Here, we’re talking about the original definition of “fake news,” which is hoax stories created whole-cloth from nothing. Many analyses found that these stories were very popular in the run-up to the 2016 election, but were also a small percentage of the overall Facebook conversation around the election.
Given the definition, Zuckerberg continues to think this kind of “fake news” is overblown. “The average person might perceive, from how much we and others talk about it, that there is more than ten times as much misinformation or hoax content on Facebook than the academic measures that we’ve seen so far suggest,” he said.
Did these hoaxes have an effect on the 2016 election? “I still think that’s the kind of thing that needs to be studied,” he told Osnos.