How Mark Zuckerberg Is Shaping the Future of Facebook, Social Media

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-16
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Mark Zuckerberg Is Shaping the Future of Facebook, Social Media
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    How Mark Zuckerberg Is Shaping the Future of Facebook, Social Media

    Facebook is no longer just a social network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expanding his empire to include virtual reality, messaging, video and much more.
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    Social Networking Is Still the Foundation
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    Social Networking Is Still the Foundation

    During his F8 conference keynote address in April, Zuckerberg talked at length about many upcoming apps and services. But the foundation of his talk was still social networking. Zuckerberg firmly believes that social networking is the ideal way to use the Web to connect people around the globe and to consume all of the other content they might desire, including news, video and more. That also makes it an ideal marketing platform for companies that want to sell products and services to millions of Facebook users.
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    Video Is Rising as a Core Service
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    Video Is Rising as a Core Service

    While YouTube is still a popular video platform, Facebook has quickly become the go-to destination for video content. Facebook has been encouraging users to upload their video content for years, but is now expanding its live streaming to compete with the likes of Twitter's Periscope. Facebook wants to become the most desirable home for personal videos, breaking out of YouTube's massive shadow.
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    Don't Forget the Importance of Messaging
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    Don't Forget the Importance of Messaging

    If Zuckerberg's talk at F8 and his acquisitions in recent years have said anything, it's that messaging is important to Facebook's future. With WhatsApp, Zuckerberg is illustrating a clear vision for personal privacy with end-to-end encryption. With Facebook Messenger, Zuckerberg is showcasing his belief that people want to communicate easily through his social platform. In Zuckerberg's worldview, messaging isn't going anywhere.
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    Facebook Putting Artificial Intelligence to Work
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    Facebook Putting Artificial Intelligence to Work

    Artificial intelligence has taken on a new, important role in Zuckerberg's mind. At F8, he unveiled support for chat bots in Facebook Messenger, allowing people to talk to machines that can intelligently respond to requests. Saying AI will play a role in all facets of his company's operation in the coming years, Zuckerberg is falling in line with other prominent executives, like Tesla's Elon Musk, who believe that AI is critical to future success.
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    Zuckerberg Believes in Virtual Reality
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    Zuckerberg Believes in Virtual Reality

    If Facebook's Oculus VR acquisition and its subsequent announcement of a Surround 360 platform designed to help companies build cameras to create 360-degree content are any indication, Zuckerberg believes in the future of virtual reality. The Oculus Rift, coupled with 360-degree video support on Facebook, presents an interesting opportunity for Facebook to be at the center of what many analysts believe is a potential boon for the technology industry.
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    He Sees Growth Potential in Emerging Economies
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    He Sees Growth Potential in Emerging Economies

    With Facebook's Free Basics platform, Zuckerberg argues that his company, along with partners, is doing what it can to get people in emerging markets online. He has extolled the virtues of the program, saying it builds a more-informed society and helps people do business. The program's future will ultimately depend on Zuckerberg's ability to handle political troubles he didn't deal with so well in India. But he believes offering a free, easy way for people to access the Internet is important.
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    Low-Cost Web Connectivity Is a Way to Reach Those Markets
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    Low-Cost Web Connectivity Is a Way to Reach Those Markets

    In addition to Free Basics, Zuckerberg has talked about delivering Internet connectivity to disparate parts of the world. Facebook wants to beam the Internet to underserved areas through the use of drones and satellites, among other technologies. Simply put, Zuckerberg thinks that Facebook could eventually be an Internet service provider to underserved areas.
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    Zuckerberg Wants to Reach Corporate Users Too
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    Zuckerberg Wants to Reach Corporate Users Too

    With its Facebook At Work platform, Facebook is looking to expand its presence in the enterprise. The service provides a way for teams to collaborate, chat individually or in groups, and handle all facets of an event. Facebook might have started as a platform for college students, but in the future, it could also be a desirable collaboration service for corporate users.
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    He Loves the Idea of Augmented Reality
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    He Loves the Idea of Augmented Reality

    In a recent feature in Fast Company, Zuckerberg and his team talked up the possibility of Facebook investing heavily in augmented reality. More specifically, the team believes that Facebook could create a product that would overlay Internet-based, virtual elements on the real world to create an entirely different user experience, similar to Microsoft's HoloLens.
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    Does Zuckerberg Want to Move to the Political Stage?
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    Does Zuckerberg Want to Move to the Political Stage?

    While he hasn't said so publicly, it's possible that Zuckerberg could eventually seek political office. In a recent government filing, Facebook issued a new type of shares that would allow Zuckerberg to hand over his wealth to charities without losing control of his company. In addition, the filing paved a path for the CEO to temporarily leave his post if he sought public office. It was the first time Facebook floated the idea, but it is notable and something we might see the 32-year-old explore at some point as he looks to help the world.
 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always known that his company could not expect long-term growth and prosperity just as a social network that allows people to keep up with friends and post personal news and views or their favorite photos. So over the past several years, Zuckerberg has expanded his social-networking empire to include virtual reality, messaging, video and much more. He's also launched several services in emerging markets, such as the Free Basics Internet service designed to get people online so they can explore Web applications including his social network. Some of his moves have been surprising, but they are all aimed at providing new ways to keep people coming back to Facebook and its various features. This slide show covers what Zuckerberg believes the future holds for his company and the Web based on his recent business moves and comments. Zuckerberg is a rather enigmatic figure, but his business plans tell you a lot about what he plans to do to keep Facebook relevant to users and keep it growing.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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