Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hosted a Townhall Q&A at a university in Italy, answering some interesting questions from the audience
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook account hosted a live video event featuring the Facebook CEO’s Townhall Q&A in Rome. Mr. Zuckerberg took to the stage to pay his respects to victims of the earthquake, and about how Facebook’s Safety Check helped users. He also talked about how Q&A sessions were a part of the company's culture. Mr. Zuckerberg let people know that it was important for anyone to be able to ask him about what Facebook, and the CEO himself, was thinking. One individual asked about Facebook’s interference with real-life interaction.
At the Townhall Q&A, the Facebook CEO was directly asked about how Facebook was interfering with people’s lives, and even ruining them. The university student asked Mr. Zuckerberg about how people communicated face-to-face more often in the past as opposed to now. Mr. Zuckerberg took the question in his stride, and said that if he felt Facebook was breaking something in the world, he would just alter the Facebook product.
Mr. Zuckerberg further explained that Facebook was not meant to replace real-life interactions, but to augment it. He said that people in the same vicinity as each other would not talk to each other on Facebook, but somebody across the country (or the world) might just do that. Facebook was meant to help family and friends far away stay in touch. He mentioned how he communicates with his sister across the country using Facebook.
The answer seemed a bit generic, given that phone calls and other services also connect users with each other. However, Mr. Zuckerberg did talk about virtual reality, and hinted that virtual reality might actually help users bridge the distance. If Facebook depends heavily on virtual reality, it might end up confirming users’ fears by replacing real-life interaction.
The CEO further talked about augmented reality, and said that it was more likely that apps such as Pokemon GO! would start off the virtual/augmented reality bandwagon. Then smart glasses and other similar services would get more of a shot in the world. Mr. Zuckerberg even joked that he was only in Rome to catch a rare Pokemon near the Colosseum.
Mr. Zuckerberg further talked about the Internet and the need to connect people, as well as the Aquila drone. The answers to those questions were somewhat generic. What was interesting to see was that users were asking real questions that did not seem filtered. This showed that the Townhall Q&A is a real activity where users can actually ask the Facebook CEO pressing questions. It also showed Mr. Zuckerberg’s ability to think on his feet, which is expected from the CEO of one of the largest tech companies.
One of the best things about the Q&A was that Mr. Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook was a tech company and not a media company. Despite providing news and video-based services, Facebook acknowledged the need or actual news companies in the world.
The Q&A follows a high-profile visit by Mr. Zuckerberg, where he himself and spouse Priscilla Chan met Pope Francis. Mr. Zuckerberg also met Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, to discuss connectivity. Facebook’s advances in the connectivity sector are clear to see, as is the influence of its founder. It remains to be seen how successful Facebook will be in achieving its aims, but the Townhall Q&A is a must-watch for anyone who wants a glimpse into the life of a very successful billionaire.