Forget The Avengers bringing half of the world’s population back to life in Endgame, there’s a new war-ending force for good we should be all lavishing praise upon. It’s none other than everyone’s favourite Silicon Valley executive, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg!
In an address to Georgetown students, broadcast live on Facebook on Thursday, Zuckerberg intimated that if the social network was around back in 2003, the disastrous war in Iraq actually may not have happened.
During his defence of Facebook as a beacon of free speech around the world (designed to swing back against growing sentiment the company should be heavily regulated), Zuckerberg said social media could have given people “a voice” in speaking out against the cataclysmic conflict that devastated the region.
He said (via Sarah Frier on Twitter): “When I was in college, our country had just gone to war in Iraq. The mood on campus was disbelief. It felt like we were acting without hearing a lot of important perspectives. The toll on soldiers, families and our national psyche was severe, and most of us felt powerless to stop it. I remember feeling that if more people had a voice to share their experiences, maybe things would have gone differently. Those early years shaped my belief that giving everyone a voice empowers the powerless and pushes society to be better over time.
“Back then, I was building an early version of Facebook for my community, and I got to see my beliefs play out at smaller scale. When students got to express who they were and what mattered to them, they organized more social events, started more businesses, and even challenged some established ways of doing things on campus. It taught me that while the world’s attention focuses on major events and institutions, the bigger story is that most progress in our lives comes from regular people having more of a voice.
“Since then, I’ve focused on building services to do two things: give people voice, and bring people together. These two simple ideas — voice and inclusion — go hand in hand.“
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Essentially rewriting Facebook’s origin story to cast himself as some sort of frat boy Nelson Mandela, Zuckerberg said that after the United States’ fateful decision to go after Saddam, he has “focused on building services to do two things: give people voice, and bring people together.”
Meanwhile, we’ve truly lost count of how many wars and tragedies Facebook has stopped since its foundation and growth into a global phenomenon.