The Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declared a goal each year since 2009. Past challenges have included wearing a tie every day, learning to speak Mandarin and eating meat only from animals he killed himself. Last year, he visited every US state he hadn’t been to yet.
This year Mark Zuckerberg said his mission in 2018 is to fix Facebook’s large list of issues, including foreign interference on the platform, ongoing instances of harassment and potential threats to the mental health of its users.
“My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page Thursday. “We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.”
Facebook has faced many challenges in 2017, and Zuckerberg wants to acknowledge that the message has been received.
Zuckerberg compared this year’s challenge to the first one he did nine years ago. It wasn’t so much about him back then either, but about the social platform he created.
“That first year the economy was in a deep recession and Facebook was not yet profitable. We needed to get serious about making sure Facebook had a sustainable business model. It was a serious year, and I wore a tie every day as a reminder,” he wrote. “Today feels a lot like that first year.”
But fixing deep-rooted, existential problems is a taller order than turning a profit.
Many of Facebook’s problems are deeply rooted in how it’s set up and why it’s been so successful, financially and otherwise. Its secret formulas give users the content they are most likely to interact with and what’s most likely to keep them coming back for more. Sometimes, that’s heartfelt posts by their friends but other times its viral fake news stories or inflammatory comments about political candidates.