Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday spoke to students at North Carolina A&T State University for an hour-long Q&A. Live streamed on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg answered student questions and touched upon topics such as diversity, fake news and hobbies.
From calling fake news accusations “crap” to saying it’s “crazy” to take billionaire investor Peter Thiel off Facebook’s board — Zuckerberg doesn’t hold back. Here are four interesting things the billionaire said Monday.
1. It’s the job of the tech industry to become more diverse.
When a student asked Zuckerberg how he planned to make Facebook more inclusive and diverse, he responded that it was the responsibility of his company — and the tech industry — to increase diversity and better serve the community.
“There’s so much research that shows that you need diverse teams to do the best work,” he said. “So it’s important that we do better on diversity, not only because it’s the right thing to do for the country and for people, but because that’s the only way we’re going to serve our community the best.”
Zuckerberg continued to explain how Facebook has made it a priority to uncover unconscious bias at the company through rigorous management training. Although like anything, Zuckerberg told the students that progress is not going to happen overnight.
“This is something that’s very ingrained in our society and it’s going to take a while to fully back this out,” he said.
2. Kicking Peter Thiel off Facebook’s board is “crazy.”
During the Q&A, Zuckerberg defended Facebook board member Peter Thiel, saying it was “crazy” to kick him off the board because of his position with President Donald Trump.
Responding to a student’s question about how Facebook “maintains a free and safe environment for the expression of all thoughts and feelings,” Zuckerberg said, “I think the folks who are saying we shouldn’t have someone on our board because they’re a Republican, I think that’s crazy. I think you need to have all kinds of diversity if you want to make progress together as a society.”
3. Fake news accusations are “crap.”
2016 and 2017 have seen many fake news stories surfacing on websites and social platforms, such as false reports that The Pope endorsed Trump or that former President Obama banned the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, which were both widely shared on Facebook. Zuckerberg responded to accusations that Facebook wants fake news in its content.
“There have been some accusations that say that we actually want this kind of content on our service because its more content and people click on it, but that’s crap,” Zuckerberg said. “No one in our community wants fake information.”
Zuckerberg said that Facebook, along with others, are victims of the problem, but it is its responsibility to fight it. He also went on to explain why people spread fake news. “A lot of people try to spread misinformation for financial gain,” he said. “You click on it and they take you to a webpage that has all these ads, so they can make money from these ads.”
4. It’s important to have extracurricular hobbies.
Turns out, you don’t have to be a coding genius to land a gig at Facebook. In fact, your passions can get you through the door.
Zuckerberg explained that when hiring new employees, Facebook looks at what people do outside their day jobs such as their hobbies or side jobs.
“At Facebook, we often ask, ‘What is something that you’ve built that is outside of the jobs you’ve done?'” he said. “Often that’s one of the best ways people can show passion and leadership.”
Zuckerberg explained that it’s these extracurricular hobbies that are the true teachers. “I probably learned more coding from random side projects,” he said, “than I did than the courses I took in college.”