Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘amazing’ Townhall Q&A session

File Photo: Mark Zuckerberg at Townhall Q&A
File Photo: Mark Zuckerberg at Townhall Q&A

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched an one-hour Q&A session his profile by posting a photo making the call on June 30. He received immense response from the Facebookers in the following two hours. The post saw over 44,000 comments including those by Stephen Hawking and Arnold Schwarzenegger!

He finished the session by saying: “We went over time! Thank you for all the great questions. It’s amazing to get such a diverse group of people and questions all in one place. See you at our next Townhall Q&A soon!”

Before that Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Mark, I always tell people that nobody is too busy to exercise, especially if Popes and Presidents find time. You’ve got to be one of the busiest guys on the planet, and younger generations can probably relate to you more than they can the Pope – so tell me how you find time to train and what is your regimen like?

And by the way – will the machines win?”

Mark replied: “Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit.

I make sure I work out at least three times a week — usually first thing when I wake up. I also try to take my dog running whenever I can, which has the added bonus of being hilarious because that basically like seeing a mop run.

And no, the machines don’t win 🙂

Stephen Hawking said: “I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?”

Mark:That’s a pretty good one!

I’m most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more?

I’m also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is.”

Jenni Moore: “Also in 10years time what’s your view on the world where do you think we all will be from a technology perspective and social media?”

Mark Zuckerberg: “In 10 years, I hope we’ve improved a lot of how the world connects. We’re doing a few big things:

First, we’re working on spreading internet access around the world through This is the most basic tool people need to get the benefits of the internet — jobs, education, communication, etc. Today, almost 2/3 of the world has no internet access. In the next 10 years, has the potential to help connect hundreds of millions or billions of people who do not have access to the internet today.

As a side point, research has found that for every 10 people who gain access to the internet, about 1 person is raised out of poverty. So if we can connect the 4 billion people in the world who are unconnected, we can potentially raise 400 million people out of poverty. That’s perhaps one of the greatest things we can do in the world.

Second, we’re working on AI because we think more intelligent services will be much more useful for you to use. For example, if we had computers that could understand the meaning of the posts in News Feed and show you more things you’re interested in, that would be pretty amazing. Similarly, if we could build computers that could understand what’s in an image and could tell a blind person who otherwise couldn’t see that image, that would be pretty amazing as well. This is all within our reach and I hope we can deliver it in the next 10 years.

Third, we’re working on VR because I think it’s the next major computing and communication platform after phones. In the future we’ll probably still carry phones in our pockets, but I think we’ll also have glasses on our faces that can help us out throughout the day and give us the ability to share our experiences with those we love in completely immersive and new ways that aren’t possible today.

Those are just three of the things we’re working on for the next 10 years. I’m pretty excited about the future 🙂

Mihai Huţan: Hi Mark, are you planning to expand the project even in Europe?

Mark Zuckerberg: Yes, we want to bring everyone where there are people who need to be connected. We’re starting off by prioritizing the countries with the most unconnected people and by working with network operators and governments who are most excited about working with to get everyone online in their countries.

Shawn McIsaac: What are your best tips for learning Mandarin?

Mark Zuckerberg: The key is just practice. Learning a language is extremely humbling because there’s no way to “figure it out” by just being clever. You just have to put in the time and let it seep into your mind.

The one thing I’ve tried to do is not too self-conscious about my lack of skill. Often when people try to learn a new language they’ll just listen for a long time before speaking much because they aren’t sure they can speak correctly. If you can just dive in and force yourself to speak — even if you get a lot of words wrong — then you’ll learn a lot faster.

Denis Cehajic: Do you believe Facebook hinders face to face communication skills?

Mark Zuckerberg: No. Tools like Facebook help people communicate mostly with people who aren’t directly around them. For example, I can stay in touch with family members who are traveling or friends who live in other countries. It’s great to be able to do that since I wouldn’t have good opportunities to stay in touch with those folks otherwise.

Jesse Garcia: What happened to the 10 million dollars donated by you to Newark Public Schools?

Mark Zuckerberg: A lot of good work has come from that grant. The highlight is that the graduation rate has improved by more than 10% since we’re started our program there. The leaders we’ve worked with in NJ have started many new high performing schools, paid teachers more and have improved the schools in lots of other ways.

Hermione Way: If Facebook is to be truly open, you need a community voting process on content that gets flagged, otherwise, by having your internal team decide which content to allow and which to block, Facebook is a non-democratic platform – Can you give us any insight on this matter?

Mark Zuckerberg: I’ve thought a lot about this and I agree with your sentiment. Designing the right mechanism is difficult though and if we get this wrong it would be very negative for our community. One of the biggest challenges is getting enough people to vote so that it actually reflects the community’s opinions rather than just a very small minority. I’m going to keep thinking about this though.

Richard Branson: Hi Mark. I share your view that it is crucial to connect the two thirds of the world that don’t currently have access to the internet. What do you think will be the biggest benefits of this?

Mark Zuckerberg: Thanks for stopping by Richard Branson!

When we talk about connecting the world, most people talk about the clear benefits to all the people who will get internet access and don’t have it today. Those benefits are many: access to education, health information, jobs and so on. Many people estimate that for every billion people we connect, we’ll raise more than 100 million out of poverty.

But one thing that we often overlook in this discussion is how everyone who is already connected will benefit from having everyone online.

Think about how many brilliant entrepreneurs there are out there who have great ideas and the will to change the world, but just lack basic tools to do so today. If you go by the population, almost 2/3 of these entrepreneurs don’t have internet access today. Once they get connected, we may have 3x as many good ideas and amazing new services built that will benefit everyone around the world.

Shakira: Hi Mark! How do you think technology can best be used as an education tool for those living in disadvantaged communities? Shak

Mark Zuckerberg: Thanks for the question Shakira!

I’m very excited about personalized learning — giving everyone the ability to use technology to learn what they’re most interested in and at their own pace. There are some great new schools experimenting with different personalized learning models and getting great results. I’m supporting some of those schools through my personal philanthropy, and Facebook is also helping to build open source software to power some of these tools.

Hector Janse van Rensburg: You said in a recent Townhall that you’d post more pictures of Beast, where are they? 🙂 

Mark Zuckerberg: I still need to do this. In the meantime, enjoy this one:

Turxan Qarishga: When we can transfer money with Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg: We’ve already started rolling this out as part of Messenger. You can send money to someone just like you’d send them a photo, sticker or voice clip. We’re going to roll this out more widely soon, and it’s an area I’m very excited about expanding over time.

Brian Ka: What is your vision of Oculus?

Mark Zuckerberg: Our mission to give people the power to experience anything. Even if you don’t have the ability to travel somewhere, or to be with someone in person, or even if something is physically impossible to build in our analog world, the goal is to help build a medium that will give you the ability to do all of these things you might not otherwise be able to do. This will be incredibly powerful as a communication medium as well. Just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the internet to let others experience them too, we’ll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments and then share those with people as well. It will be pretty wild.

Aakash Chaudhary: how will you react if you woke up next morning and there is no facebook ?

Mark Zuckerberg: I’d build it 🙂

Rodney Jackson: Mark love Facebook thank you. My question is simple can you jump over a chair like bill gates?

Mark Zuckerberg: Great question. Maybe, but we’re not going to find out today 🙂

Morgan Strebler: I was wondering how much bandwidth it takes to keep Facebook operational? Thanks for all you do here and around the world!#muchrespect

Mark Zuckerberg: It takes many terabits per second of bandwidth, and many hundreds of thousands of servers!

Dan Higgins: How many hours do you work a day?

Mark Zuckerberg: That depends on what you count as work. I spend most of my time thinking about how to connect the world and serve our community better, but a lot of that time isn’t in our office or meeting with people or doing what you’d call real work. I take a lot of time just to read and think about things by myself. If you count the time I’m in the office, it’s probably no more than 50-60 hours a week. But if you count all the time I’m focused on our mission, that’s basically my whole life.

Kirti Sharma: Hi Mark. What’s your definition of happiness? And how has it evolved over a period of time as you grew up?

Mark Zuckerberg: Great question. To me, happiness is doing something meaningful that helps people and that I believe in with people I love.

I think lots of people confuse happiness with fun. I don’t believe it is possible to have fun every day. But I do believe it is possible to do something meaningful that helps people people every day.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve gained more appreciation for my close relationships — my wife, my partners at work, my close friends. Nobody builds something by themselves. Long term relationships are very important.

Chris Roberts: Any chance you can add a sarcasm button for us Brits?

Mark Zuckerberg: Sure, we’ll get right on that 🙂

Arianna Huffington: Facebook has played a huge role in the digital publishing industry over the past few years. Based on everything you’ve learned, how do you think the way journalists and news organizations present their stories online will evolve over the next few years? And what types of products are you focused on in this space?

Mark Zuckerberg: I think there will be a couple of trends towards richness and speed / frequency.

On richness, we’re seeing more and more rich content online. Instead of just text and photos, we’re now seeing more and more videos. This will continue into the future and we’ll see more immersive content like VR. For now though, making sure news organizations are delivering increasingly rich content is important and it’s what people want.

On speed / frequency, traditional news is thoroughly vetted but this model has a hard time keeping us with important things happening constantly. There’s an important place for news organizations that can deliver smaller bits of news faster and more frequently in pieces. This won’t replace the longer and more researched work, and I’m not sure anyone has fully nailed this yet.

Joe Byer: Why did you choose to set your salary at $1?

Mark Zuckerberg: I’ve made enough money. At this point, I’m just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have. The main way I can help is through Facebook — giving people the power to share and connecting the world. I’m also focusing on my education and health philanthropy work outside of Facebook as well. Too many people die unnecessarily and don’t get the opportunities they deserve. There are lots of things in the world that need to get fixed and I’m just lucky to have the chance to work on fixing some of them.

Jeff Jarvis: Mark: What do you think Facebook’s role is in news? I’m delighted to see Instant Articles and that it includes a business model to help support good journalism. What’s next?

Mark Zuckerberg: People discover and read a lot of news content on Facebook, so we spend a lot of time making this experience as good as possible.

One of the biggest issues today is just that reading news is slow. If you’re using our mobile app and you tap on a photo, it typically loads immediately. But if you tap on a news link, since that content isn’t stored on Facebook and you have to download it from elsewhere, it can take 10+ seconds to load. People don’t want to wait that long, so a lot of people abandon news before it has loaded or just don’t even bother tapping on things in the first place, even if they wanted to read them.

That’s easy to solve, and we’re working on it with Instant Articles. When news is as fast as everything else on Facebook, people will naturally read a lot more news. That will be good for helping people be more informed about the world, and it will be good for the news ecosystem because it will deliver more traffic.

It’s important to keep in mind that Instant Articles isn’t a change we make by ourselves. We can release the format, but it will take a while for most publishers to adopt it. So when you ask about the “next thing”, it really is getting Instant Articles fully rolled out and making it the primary news experience people have.

Ben Romberg: Hi Mark, tell us more about the AI initiatives that Facebook are involved in …

Mark Zuckerberg: Most of our AI research is focused on understanding the meaning of what people share.

For example, if you take a photo that has a friend in it, then we should make sure that friend sees it. If you take a photo of a dog or write a post about politics, we should understand that so we can show that post and help you connect to people who like dogs and politics.

In order to do this really well, our goal is to build AI systems that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc.

For vision, we’re building systems that can recognize everything that’s in an image or a video. This includes people, objects, scenes, etc. These systems need to understand the context of the images and videos as well as whatever is in them.

For listening and language, we’re focusing on translating speech to text, text between any languages, and also being able to answer any natural language question you ask.

This is a pretty basic overview. There’s a lot more we’re doing and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon.

Shiva Upadhyay: Can i get a intern at facebook for networking?

Mark Zuckerberg: Sure, anyone can apply to work at Facebook. Here are our openings:

Jennifer Lindsay Provan: Hey Mark! Greetings from Scotland! I would love to ask an intelligent, thought provoking question but alas have none! My 10 year old however wants to ask you what you would take to a desert island with you if you could only take three things (fyi there is no WiFi there so no FB frown emoticon ) Thank you! 😀

Mark Zuckerberg: That depends. Have we successfully delivered satellite connectivity through yet? Because we’re working on this, and in the not too distant future, I’m pretty sure there will in fact be wifi on that island. In that case, I’ll bring my wife, my dog and my phone.

Otherwise, I guess I’d just bring my wife, my dog and a book 🙂

Miller Savetz: Why did you come up with Poking?

Mark Zuckerberg: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Marcel Rukeltukel: Whats going on with facebook in the future?

Mark Zuckerberg: There are a few important trends in human communication that we hope to improve.

First, people are gaining the power to share in richer and richer ways. We used to just share in text, and now we post mainly with photos. In the future video will be even more important than photos. After that, immersive experiences like VR will become the norm. And after that, we’ll have the power to share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we’d like.

Second, people are gaining the power to communicate more frequently. We used to have to be with someone in person. Then we had these bulky computers at our desks or that we could carry around. Now we have these incredible devices in our pockets all the time, but we only use them periodically throughout the day. In the future, we’ll have AR and other devices that we can wear almost all the time to improve our experience and communication.

One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like. This would be the ultimate communication technology.

Our lives improve as our communication tools get better in many ways. We can build richer relationships with the people we love and care about. We know about what’s going on in the world and can make better decisions in our jobs and lives. We are also more informed and can make better decisions collectively as a society. This increase in the power people have to share is one of the major forces driving the world today.

Khizer Ahmed: What can we expect from

Mark Zuckerberg: You can expect everyone to be connected in the future!

We’re working on two main paths:

First, we’re working on partnerships with operators to deliver free basic internet services around the world. This is already live in more than a dozen countries and more than one billion people can already access these free basic internet services. We have many more launches planned around the world as well.

Second, we’re working on new technologies that can extend internet connectivity even further. The main three things we’re working on are drones, satellites and lasers. The idea is that in the future, we’ll be able to beam down internet access from a plane flying overhead or a satellite flying way overhead — and they’ll communicate down to earth using very accurate lasers to transfer data. We’ve already talked about some of our efforts in these areas, and we’ll have even more to share soon.

This work is very important because internet connectivity brings jobs, education, health and communication. Research has shown that for every 10 people connected, we can raise roughly 1 person out of poverty. So through this work we can potentially raise hundreds of millions of people out of poverty around the world. A more connected world is a better world!

Alex Kantrowitz: Hi Mark, you made a tool to let everyone put rainbow flags over their profile pictures, but you also insist on having people use their real names on Facebook. Many people in the trans community consider this discriminatory and even argue it puts their lives at risk. Are you going to end the practice?

Mark Zuckerberg: This is an important question. Real names are an important part of how our community works for a couple of reasons.

First, it helps keep people safe. We know that people are much less likely to try to act abusively towards other members of our community when they’re using their real names. There are plenty of cases — for example, a woman leaving an abusive relationship and trying to avoid her violent ex-husband — where preventing the ex-husband from creating profiles with fake names and harassing her is important. As long as he’s using his real name, she can easily block him.

Second, real names help make the service easier to use. People use Facebook to look up friends and people they meet all the time. This is easy because you can just type their name into search and find them. This becomes much harder if people don’t use their real names.

That said, there is some confusion about what our policy actually is. Real name does not mean your legal name. Your real name is whatever you go by and what your friends call you. If your friends all call you by a nickname and you want to use that name on Facebook, you should be able to do that. In this way, we should be able to support everyone using their own real names, including everyone in the transgender community. We are working on better and more ways for people to show us what their real name is so we can both keep this policy which protects so many people in our community while also serving the transgender community.

Atiqul Haq from Bangladesh said: “Will you please send me a friend request? Lol :3″ Mark, however, did not give any reply here.

Apart from many other questions, Mark did not respond to the call for a ‘dislike’ buttonAkshay Patil: please add dislike button…

Related stories made by international media on the Q&A:

The future of Facebook is telepathy, reveals Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder thinks we’ll send emotions to each other telepathically

Zuckerberg: The Future Of Facebook Is Telepathy

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg thinks telepathy tech is on its way

Mark Zuckerberg chats to Stephen Hawking and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Facebook Q&A

Mark Zuckerberg on VR, AI and Sending Thoughts Over the Internet


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