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Zuckerberg tells Harvard we need a new social contract of equal opportunity

Mark Zuckerberg believes we can fix the world through big projects, equal opportunity, and building both local and global community. In his Harvard commencement speech today, he outlined a plan “to create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.”

Rather than focusing on the opportunities for the Harvard students graduating in front of him, he urged the students to ignite opportunities for those less fortunate. And instead of shying away from the fact that technology is creating new challenges for the underprivileged, he said we need to address automation’s impact on employment head on.

You can watch the replay of his speech here:

Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard his sophomore year in 2004 to scale up Facebook as it rapidly grew. But today he was awarded an honorary Doctor Of Laws degree, apparently to the delight of his parents.

Today’s speech gave Zuckerberg a chance to speak directly to the world about the philosophy of building community that he outlined in his 6,000 word ‘humanitarian manifesto’ letter he published earlier this year. He describes this purpose as Facebook’s new mission after spending over a decade try to make the world more “open and connected”.

To grow his understanding of how to build global community, Zuckerberg’s annual personal challenge for 2017 was to visit and meet new people in every U.S. state he hadn’t already visited. Many have described the similarity of his tour to how politicians ‘shake hands and kiss babies’ as they campaign for election, stoking speculation that Zuckerberg might run for president of the United States. Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied this is his plan.

Yet with 1.8 billion users, Facebook’s citizenship dwarfs that of the U.S., and Zuckerberg’s choices directly impact the way people socialize, organize, and do business every day. Perhaps getting to know a wider swath of those users in person so he can serve them through Facebook’s product is plenty reason for the cross-country trip.

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