Mark Zuckerberg spoke yesterday at the first ever Facebook Community Summit, where he unveiled a new mission statement for the company that reflects what the site has evolved into in recent years; "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." The new statement and the summit where it was announced are part and parcel of Facebook's evolution from a glorified chat service to a worldwide platform for expression where over a billion people worldwide, now close to two billion, have a myriad number of tools at their disposal to find people that they have something in common with, people who can help support them, and people who they can simply be friends with.
The new mission statement is encompassed in a new product roadmap with a focus on the creation and maintenance of "meaningful communities." The first part of that roadmap is a new goal for Facebook's AI-based community suggestion tools. According to data that Zuckerberg cited, only about 100 million Facebook users are currently engaged in "meaningful communities" that go beyond sharing photos, memes, or funny stories, and are an integral part of a person's social world, and in some cases even help bring positive change to their everyday life outside of Facebook. He wants to see AI-based tools help connect 1 billion or more people to meaningful communities. The second part of the new roadmap ties into the saying "nothing at Facebook is someone else's problem," and offers new analytics and management tools for group admins to help them take full ownership of running communities. Admins will get better insights into activity in their group, key figures in the group, and who new and prospective members are, along with tools that will make it easier to remove negativity in the communities. Zuckerberg did not reveal many details, instead saying that group admins can expect to see and hear about new tools to help them keep their communities as active and positive as possible in the next few days.
Facebook's previous mission statement involved connecting the world. According to Zuckerberg, the company has done a lot of good in doing just that, giving people around the world a chance to connect and have their voices heard. He went on to say that while Facebook is far from finished with that agenda, it's no longer the primary goal of the company. Zuckerberg stated that the new mission statement involving connecting individuals and communities transcends simply giving people the tools to connect, but that Facebook has a "responsibility" to foster community in a divided world. Zuckerberg pointed to data indicating that membership in groups and communities has declined over the past few decades, and said of the situation, "This is our challenge."