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Facebook's Zuckerberg tackles telcos and terrorism

Matt Kapko | Feb. 24, 2016
During a Mobile World Congress keynote on Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed a variety of issues, including the company's controversial initiative, the future of online video and Apple's ongoing game of tug of war with the FBI.

Thomas Husson, a vice president with Forrester Research, says Zuckerberg's comments fall short for the leader of a company that owns the largest mobile audience in the world. "Facebook has always had a love-hate relationship with carriers and this tension will accelerate now that the time has come to connect the next billion of Internet users in emerging countries," Husson says.

Facebook users don't pay any membership fees to use the social network, but they do pay for the data they use to access it, and the company built a massive advertising business that drove $5.6 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2015 on the backs of these users and their networks. "Many telcos see no reason why they would have invested so much in the infrastructure to let Facebook benefit from it without paying anything," Husson said. "Not to mention the risk of damaging their core business with the likes of WhatsApp killing their SMS cash cow."

Zuckerberg said making money isn't always Facebook's priority, particularly with respect to getting people online. "We actually don't want to have any business success that people would think we're misaligned with them on until everyone else is making money first," he said. "Having a for-profit company is a good way to make a change in the world. But that doesn't mean that just because you have a company you don't primarily care about the mission and the people that you're serving and how you can make their lives better."

Facebook and the onslaught of online video 

Online video helps Facebook prepare for its mission to expand across the globe, according to Zuckerberg, who says video will represent the vast majority of online content people consume in just a few years.. "I think that video in 2016 is probably as big of a shift in the way that people are going to share and consume what's going on in the world around them as mobile was for how people shared in 2012 or 2011," he said.

The pervasiveness of live video also changes the dynamics of social sharing, according to Zuckerberg. "[Live video] gives people more intimate environments and more raw environments where you have a reason to just be yourself," he said. "You can just share what's you — it doesn't need to feel like it's super curated." 

Zuckerberg on Apple, the FBI and terrorism

Finally, Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on Apple's ongoing legal battle with the FBI over the government's request for a "backdoor" into the iPhone of one of the accused terrorists behind last year's mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. Apple refused a judge's order and effectively dug its heels in for a battle in federal court, as well as the court of public opinion.


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