On Tuesday, Zuckerberg streamed a public Q&A from the social network’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters. Here are the four most interesting points Zuckerberg made in the session:
- A new “empathy” button is coming: Zuckerberg said the social network is working on an alternative to the “like” button that will give users a more appropriate way to express sympathy in response to posts that are sad. Zuckerberg said Facebook FB +0.00% has resisted ways to let users criticize others with a “dislike” button, but plans to start publicly testing a button soon that will give users a new way to convey support, for example, when users post about a death or an upsetting news article. “People have asked about the dislike button for many years,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ve finally heard you and we’re working on this and we will deliver something that meets the needs of the larger community.”
- AI will be key to filtering graphic content: Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook needs to filter potentially disturbing content with more nuance. He said artificial intelligence will be key to Facebook’s short-term efforts to achieve this. Currently users can flag graphic content to the social network’s community-standards division, but some users are more open to seeing graphic content, such as violence and nudity, than others. He cited a recent photo of a three-year-old Syrian refugee on a Turkish beach that was widely shared online, saying that poignant photos have a place in raising awareness for important issues in a way that statistics can’t. “Right now we don’t have computers that can look at a photo and understand it the way humans can,” Zuckerberg said. “It will be possible to build that in the next five years.”
- Video and VR are the next frontiers of communication: Zuckerberg said he expects society to enter the ”golden age of video” over the next five years. Then, he thinks virtual reality, or VR, will be the dominant medium for sharing experiences. He also predicted that in 25 to 35 years, people will be able to directly communicate their thoughts with each other. Facebook bought the VR headset maker Oculus for about $2 billion last year and plans to begin selling the immersive devices during the first quarter of next year.