Zuckerberg to hold public discussions on tech

Critics say the CEO has been too hands-off when it comes to directing company policy

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has said he will host a series of public discussions around technology in order to raise awareness about its role in society.

Issues such as the relationship between AI and jobs, free speech and how to build safe online communities will be discussed with thought leaders, experts and industry figures.

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He explained he's been motivated to host these talks in an attempt to be more active in the tech community. As an engineer by trade, he explained he used to be able to simply build his ideas and hoped they worked, however, his standing as a public figure means he needs to be more involved in tech conversations.

The announcement comes at a time when the CEO is facing pressure from both the public and governments to reform Facebook's data practices following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as criticisms that he has failed to play an assertive role in curbing the more toxic elements of the social media site, including extremist material.

"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 tradeoffs we face and where we want to go," he said.

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The talks will be available to view on both Facebook and the company's other social network, Instagram. Zuckerberg said they also may be made available on "other media" too.

Zuckerberg famously sets himself new challenges at the start of each year. Some of these are physical, some moral and others social.

"My challenge for 2019 is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties," he said in a Facebook post.

"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."

Responses to his post were mixed, with some supportive of his initiative while others claimed Zuckerberg should be focusing more on addressing internal challenges the company now faces, including a need to be more transparent with its userbase.


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