Given how often Facebook was in the news last year (and very rarely for anything positive), its commander in chief Mark Zuckerberg has a pledge for 2017: Mix it up with commoners. In a post on the social network, Zuckerberg says that his personal goal for 2017 is to "have visited and met people in every state in the US" by year's end. By his count, he has 30 states left. Man, he travels fast.
"After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future," he says.
Given that his company repeatedly (and erroneously) censored journalists, suppressed conservative-leaning news, helped proliferate fake news while routinely side-stepping any responsibility it has in the news cycle, it should be an interesting trip for the Harvard drop-out.
What types of questions will he ask his users? And will they talk about more than virtual reality, or stuff that populates their News Feeds like sonogram pictures and GIFs? If not, his conscience will be more than enough at ease. But if people start asking (and telling him) about real issues, things could get messy.
Last year, a Pew Research study showed that 44 percent of Americans consider Facebook their primary news source. When Zuckerberg invariably meets some of those people during this tour, and they have concerns about, say, violence being broadcast over Facebook Live, is he going to tell them to their face that he's running a tech company, not a media organization? In his own words, he's "looking forward to the challenge."