By David Ingram

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief
Executive Mark Zuckerberg laid out a vision on Thursday of his
company serving as a bulwark against rising isolationism,
writing in a letter to users that the company’s platform could
be the “social infrastructure” for the globe.

In a 5,700-word manifesto, Zuckerberg, founder of the
world’s largest social network, quoted Abraham Lincoln, the U.S.
president during the country’s 19th century Civil War known for
his eloquence, and offered a philosophical sweep that was
unusual for a business magnate.

Zuckerberg’s comments come at a time when many people and
nations around the world are taking an increasingly inward view.
U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put “America first” in
his inaugural address in January. That followed Britain’s
decision last June to exit the European Union.

“Across the world there are people left behind by
globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global
connection,” Zuckerberg wrote, without naming specific
movements.

The question, the 32-year-old executive said, was whether
“the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course,” adding
that he stands for bringing people together.

Quoting from a letter Lincoln wrote to Congress in the
depths of the Civil War, he wrote to Facebook’s 1.9 billion
users: “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the
stormy present.”

Zuckerberg said that Facebook could move far beyond its
roots as a network for friends and families to communicate,
suggesting that it can play a role in five areas, all of which
he referred to as “communities,” ranging from strengthening
traditional institutions, to providing help during and after
crises, to boosting civic engagement.

In comments on Facebook, some users praised Zuckerberg’s
note for staying positive, while others declared “globalism”
dead.

Facebook has been under pressure to more closely police
hoaxes, fake news and other controversial content, although the
concerns have had little impact on its finances. The company
reported 2016 revenue of $27.6 billion, up 54 percent from a
year earlier.

One area where Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook would do
better would be suggesting “meaningful communities.” Some 100
million users are members of groups that are “very meaningful”
to them, he wrote, representing only about 5 percent of users.

Facebook is also using artificial intelligence more to flag
photos and videos that need human review, Zuckerberg wrote.
One-third of all reports to Facebook’s review team are generated
by artificial intelligence, he wrote.

Zuckerberg’s letter was “a bit more ambitious and a bit more
of the 30,000-foot view than I see from most tech company CEOs,”
Peter Micek, global policy and legal counsel at Access Now, an
international digital rights group, said in a phone interview.

But Zuckerberg stayed away from certain subjects on which
Facebook could be vulnerable to criticism, mentioning the word
“privacy” only once, Micek said.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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