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Zuckerberg to Harvard grads: Fight 'forces of authoritarianism'

Zuckerberg to Harvard grads: Fight 'forces of authoritarianism'
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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg challenged the graduating class of Harvard University to fight against isolationism and nationalism on Thursday.

“We live in an unstable time,” he said.

"There’s pressure to turn inwards. This is the struggle of our time,” Zuckerberg told the crowd at his alma mater’s commencement.

“The forces of freedom, openness and global community are up against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism.

“The forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration against those who would slow them down. This is not a battle of nations; this is a battle of ideas."

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Zuckerberg used his commencement speech to lay out a vision for America, covering political topics such as climate change, the prison system, automation and healthcare.

“Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said. “We should have a society that measures economic progress not just by GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful.”

The Facebook CEO argued that this will only be achievable with policy reforms that make the economy more forgiving to risk and volatility.

“We’re all going to change jobs and roles many times, so we need affordable childcare to get to work and healthcare that’s not tied to just one employer,” Zuckerberg said.

“We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas,” he continued. “Giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t going to be free. People like me should pay for it. A lot of you are going to do well, and you should, too.”

Zuckerberg’s politically tinged comments come amid speculation that the 33-year-old billionaire is considering a White House bid. He has repeatedly denied interest, but rumors continue to swirl.

He’s in the midst of traveling across the country and meeting with various community leaders, a schedule that some political analysts say looks a lot like a pre-announcement speaking tour.

Last year, Facebook’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing on a special class of new shares that Zuckerberg owns raised eyebrows because it specifically dictates that he would retain control of the company even if he were “serving in a government position or office.”

The Facebook founder attended Harvard but dropped out to run his social media network. He received an honorary degree during Thursday’s ceremony.