Social media cannot only serve as an effective platform for socializing and engaging in public discourse, but it can also allow a critical cultural shift on the way users view themselves as part of an active community and accredited contributors, when other members of the global or local community need help.
Chan and Zuckerberg, the kernel of Facebook, make clear in their powerful statement that equality has first and foremost to do with the globally excluded, no matter where they happen to live, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation, gender identity, or the colour of their skin. It has to do with understanding their needs and making them equal partners of global and local communities.
They both display a deep commitment to the ideal of equality as well as to the notion that every human being, irrespective of circumstance, should have a fair shot at making something of her life.
In my opinion, this public commitment to the promotion of equality on a global scale is the main takeaway message. Chan and Zuckerberg talk about much more than simply giving enormous amounts of money as charity for the needy: they talk about empowering people as equal partners of local and global communities creating thus, a generation’s manifesto for social change. Whether this vision can be reasonably squared with concerns voiced in the global debates about data oligarchy, data privacy and Facebook’s political influence in western democracies should be further critically and publicly scrutinized.
(The list of points below derives from Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement on 1/12/2015 on Facebook)
1. Advancing human potential.
2. Promoting equality.
3. Harness more clean energy.
4. Protect the environment.
5. Grow peace and prosperity.
6. Making sure everyone has access to these opportunities — regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.
7. Channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.
8. Eliminate poverty and hunger
9. Provide everyone with basic healthcare
10. Build inclusive and welcoming communities
11. Nurture peaceful and understanding relationships between people of all nations
12. Truly empower everyone — women, children, underrepresented minorities, immigrants and the unconnected
13. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking
14. We can’t empower people if we don’t understand the needs and desires of their communities.
15. Progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.
16. We’re early in our learning and many things we try won’t work, but we’ll listen and learn and keep improving.
17. Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the internet.
18. Yet still more than half of the world’s population — more than 4 billion people — don’t have access to the internet. If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
19. It will take inventing new technology to make the internet more affordable and bring access to unconnected areas.
20. It will take engaging with communities to understand what they need.
21. But together we can succeed and create a more equal world.
22. If you have an unhealthy childhood, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
23. If you have to wonder whether you’ll have food or rent, or worry about abuse or crime, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
24. If you fear you’ll go to prison rather than college because of the color of your skin,
25. or that your family will be deported because of your legal status,
26. or that you may be a victim of violence because of your religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
27. By ensuring all children are well fed and cared for starting young, we can start to treat these inequities as connected. Only then can we collectively start to give everyone an equal opportunity.
28. It will take many years to fully develop this model. But it’s another example of how advancing human potential and promoting equality are tightly linked. If we want either, we must first build inclusive and healthy communities.
29. For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do.
30. We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission.