Keeping in tradition with other years, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has issued a mission statement just as the new year begins. Unlike before, he concentrates more on putting power back into people’s hands, other than his task to fix Facebook, in a note published on the popular social networking site Facebook on 4 January.
Amusingly, what seems to have struck the readers most are his views on the cryptocurrencies, which have taken the entire world by storm lately. He talks about how virtual currencies have successfully managed to shift the power-balance from a centralized system to the hands of a common man.
“There are important counter-trends to this — like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services,” Mark Zuckerberg writes on Facebook.
The mention of cryptocurrency is likely to be at least partly a reference to blockchain, the technology that powers new kinds of currency like bitcoin. That allows information – like who owns what bitcoins – to be distributed across a range of computers, rather than centralised in one specific place.
Numerous technology experts have suggested that blockchain could have revolutionary impacts far beyond its use in cryptocurrency and bitcoin. It could be used to store whole different kinds of information, for instance, in a way that would be controlled by no specific company like Facebook and so theoretically be free from its influence.
Zuckerberg also made it his personal challenge for 2017 to break out of the Silicon Valley bubble and meet with people in every state. The move fueled speculation Zuckerberg wanted to run for president, but some in the tech industry instead saw it as an attempt to assess the unintended consequences of his company.
"Zuck isn't running for President," Nathan Hubbard, a former Twitter executive, tweeted last June. "He's trying to understand the role the product he created played in getting this one elected.
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