Zuckerberg promises public discussions throughout 2019

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE is vowing to hold a series of public discussions throughout the year focusing on the “future of technology in society” as his company has become increasingly embattled over its handling of user privacy and the prevalence of disinformation on its platform.

Zuckerberg said that the discussions will force him to be more accountable.

“I'm an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they'd mostly speak for themselves,” he wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “But given the importance of what we do, that doesn't cut it anymore. So I'm going to put myself out there more than I've been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go.”

The announcement was Zuckerberg’s latest personal challenge for himself.

At the beginning of 2018, as Facebook was struggling to address revelations that Russians had used its platform as a tool to spread disinformation, he vowed to spend the year working to improve the site and last month he touted the progress he had made.

But the reality is that the company is as embattled as ever. Facebook stock dropped 30 percent in 2018, amid revelations that a right-wing political consulting group called Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained data on millions of its users.

That incident was part of the impetus for a worldwide push to regulate Big Tech’s practice of collecting data on users for targeted advertisements.

“These issues are complex and we will continue focusing on them for years to come,” Zuckerberg wrote on Tuesday.