What began as a simple page to connect friends and alumni from Harvard University, today has become a platform that connects the world. In a few weeks, Facebook will reach a milestone: more than 2 billion users. “[It] is pretty cool and this has been a period to reflect on our role and responsibility in the world and what we want to take on,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook cofounder, chairman and COO to People en Español in his legendary fishbowl, his conference room in building MK20 on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California.
The responsibility is indeed great and, as he mentioned in his recent speech to Harvard’s graduating class of 2017, finding one’s life purpose is not enough. “The challenge for our generation,” he said, “is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.”
It’s also not enough for Facebook that people use it to connect with friends and family. “It’s also important to help people build community and get people exposed to new perspectives and ideas that you aren’t familiar with yet,” he said in his usual calm delivery.
To that end and for the first time, he added, Facebook will give autonomy and control to groups on that platform. Group administrators have already started to celebrate. Some 300 administrators from different parts of the world came together on Thursday, June 22nd in The Revel Fulton Market in Chicago, where Zuckerberg announced all the possibilities at hand now for them on Facebook.
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Alex Deve, Product Director on Groups, underlined why it’s so important to create and maintain supportive groups on Facebook. “It’s all about community, if you want to grow communities you really have to support community leaders,” he said. “That’s what this is all about, how we help community leaders grow and moderate their community.”
The event in Chicago had two objectives. “One is to continue learning from them about what we need to do to help more people like them become leaders of communities,” Zuckerberg explained. “The other is to empower them to go out and build communities. We’re not actually, as Facebook, going to go build the communities; we’re going to empower them to go do what they’re going to do. That is actually what brings the world closer together; you have millions [of] communities around the world and you have dedicated people who are looking out for fifty, a hundred people a time and that ends up being the social fabric for countries and for the world. That’s my goal: to first let folks know that we value what they’re doing and hopefully give them the tools —and give a lot more people around the world who want to be like them the tools —to build communities just like they are.”
Hispanics have made Facebook a part of their community: 26.7 million Latinos in the U.S. are connected via Facebook. That means that half the Hispanic population in the country has a Facebook account.
Some of those Latino groups came together in Chicago, among them Esposas Militares Hispanas USA Armed Forces; Unidos X La Mujer, No a la Violencia; Beauty Obsessed and Latinas Think Big.
When some countries talk about divisions, separations and building walls, Facebook is launching a new mission: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Translated by Maria Morales