Mark Zuckerberg is Turning onto Cryptocurrencies to Decentralize Facebook

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Mark Zuckerberg is Turning onto Cryptocurrencies to Decentralize Facebook
Photo: Anthony Quintano / Flickr

Mark Zuckerberg puts a new challenge for himself in 2018 to fix Facebook’s major issues and hints at studying decentralized blockchain technology.

Well, look who’s got his eyes on the blockchain technology? On Thursday, in a Facebook post, company’s CEO and boss Mark Zuckerberg said that one of the important agenda on his work timeline this year would be to study cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, and work on how it could help improve the world’s largest social networking platform, which he co-founded.

Zuckerberg writes:

“My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. 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.”

In his long Facebook post, Zuckerberg acknowledges the fact that there are problems with the Internet, which is getting too much centralized and controlled by a few huge companies that include Facebook itself. He also pointed out that the major aim of web services, which initially was to distribute and decentralize power in the hands of people, has been happening the other way round.

Zuckerberg writes:

“A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands. (The first four words of Facebook’s mission have always been “give people the power”.) Back in the 1990s and 2000s, most people believed technology would be a decentralizing force.”

“But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.”

Zuckerberg further writes that in order to counter this, he would be looking at Bitcoin and other decentralized technologies. Zuckerberg writes:

“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.”

While talking about cryptocurrency, it is clear that Zuckerberg is pointing towards its underlying blockchain technology, which allows information be decentralized and distributed across the network of computers spread around the globe rather than being concentrated at one single place.

Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst says that with more than a billion people using Facebook on daily basis, it serves as an excellent platform for communications. However, he states that the same platform is also being used for spreading misinformation at lightning speed.

Williamson says that by gathering a larger public perception towards things, Facebook will work on streamlining things and solving these issues. “Recognizing its power, and understanding how that power can be used for both good and potentially bad purposes and doing something about that is probably Facebook’s biggest challenge,” said Williamson.

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