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Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Returns to Harvard University

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about his annual personal challenge. Past challenges have included learning Mandarin, visiting every state and writing more thank you notes. This year's challenge for Zuckerberg is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society. His very first installment brought him to Massachusetts.

Zuckerberg spent his morning at his alma mater, Harvard University, to kick off his 2019 challenge. He told law professor Jonathan Zittrain that one of the main reasons people of his generation got into technology is because it empowers people and isn't massively centralizing.

"Individuals today have more voice, more ability to affiliate with who they want and stay connected with people, ability to form communities in ways they couldn't before," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg also said Facebook wants to give everyone a voice, to be able to connect with who they care about and should remain free of charge. As for a service where people would pay not to see ads, Zuckerberg said, "It may still be alright to offer that as a choice down the line, but all the data I've seen suggest that the vast, vast majority of people want a free service."

And Zuckerberg shared what Facebook considered doing as it worked to counter election interference.

"One of the initial ideas that came up was 'Why don't we just ban all ads that relate to anything that is political," Zuckerberg said. "And then you pretty quickly get into - 'Alright, well, what's a political ad?' and the classic legal definition is things that are around elections and candidates, but that's not actually what Russia and other folks were primarily doing."

Zuckerberg stressed that he doesn't want Facebook to be in the position of deciding what is true and what is not. The company is currently in the process of setting up an independent council to review controversial content.

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