Entering into a new decade tends to elicit a bunch of forward-looking thoughts and ambitions from people, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Today he shared his goals not only for the next year, but the next decade. Zuckerberg generally spoke in very broad terms, but what he said today does give us an idea of what Facebook will look to do over the next ten years.
In a post to his Facebook page today, Zuckerberg attempted to predict the direction in which the technology industry and society in general would move over the next 10 years while vaguely detailing where Facebook fits into that picture. In all, Zuckerberg identifies five areas that will be important in the next decade: Generational change, private social platforms, decentralizing opportunity, AR and VR as the next big computing platform, and new forms of governance in the age of social media.
Concerning the first topic, Zuckerberg thinks that the next decade will bring about a generational shift with millennials and younger generations voting and setting policies. He also notes that Facebook will “focus more on funding and giving a platform to younger entrepreneurs, scientists, and leaders to enable these changes.”
That bit about private social platforms may be the most interesting segment of his entire post, but he stops just short of confirming that Facebook will be the one to make them. He does say that while social media has enabled people around the world to interact with one another, there are those who crave smaller communities where things can be a little more local.
“This is one of the areas of innovation I’m most excited about,” he said. “Our digital social environments will feel very different over the next 5+ years, re-emphasizing private interactions and helping us build the smaller communities we all need in our lives.” While he doesn’t say that Facebook will be involved in that, he doesn’t really have to, as it’s safe to assume that Facebook will have some kind of influence on the shift given its position in the market.
When it comes to decentralizing opportunity, Zuckerberg says that the focus needs to be on helping small businesses succeed. This is where we see more of a clear strategy for Facebook, and it involves many of the company’s products. “Over the next decade, we hope to build the commerce and payments tools so that every small business has easy access to the same technology that previously only big companies have had.” According to him, making it so that small businesses succeed will help foster opportunity around the world.
Then we come to AR and VR, something that Facebook has a big stake in seeing succeed given its ownership of Oculus. Zuckerberg expects to see smartphones remain the dominant computing platform over the next decade, but he also predicts “breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.” He also notes that if Facebook can “deliver on what we’re building,” a future where you can be “present” anywhere using VR could be a lot closer by the time we arrive at 2030.
Finally, Zuckerberg touched on the topic of governing social media in the new decade, noting that he thinks governments could play a bigger role in creating rules concerning social media platforms and their relation to things like “elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability.” In the absence of such regulation, though, he also argues that giving communities the tools to govern themselves could work well too.
In keeping with that, Facebook will be creating an independent Oversight Board that will handle content appeals from users. Zuckerberg hopes to build out these community governance tools over the next decade, but what form that may take aside from that Oversight Board is unknown.
So, there you have it: Zuckerberg’s predictions and ambitions for the year 2020 and beyond. You can read through his full post over on Facebook, but it’s clear that he has some big plans for VR, governance, and social media in general moving forward, so we’ll see how it all plays out from here.