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Zuckerberg sees ‘positive’ force of Facebook despite firestorm

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Mark Zuckerberg said Monday he sees Facebook as a largely “positive” force for society as the embattled social network marked its 15th anniversary.

Even as Facebook is facing a wave of criticism over issues of manipulation, misinformation, abuse and other social ills, Zuckerberg said it would be a mistake “to overly emphasize the negative” impacts of social media and the internet.

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The Facebook co-founder and chief executive said he sees profound social changes “as networks of people connected via the internet replace traditional hierarchies and reshape institutions from government to business to media.”

In a post on his Facebook page, he argued that “while any rapid social change creates uncertainty, I believe what we’re seeing is people having more power, and a long term trend reshaping society to be more open and accountable over time.”

He said Facebook and other social networks have fundamentally changed how people interact with their communities and institutions.

“I’ll never forget how right after we launched News Feed, we saw millions of people organize marches against violence in Colombia. We saw communities come together to do viral fundraisers,” he wrote.

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Zuckerberg added: “If the last 15 years were about people building these new networks and starting to see their impact, then the next 15 years will be about people using their power to remake society in ways that have the potential to be profoundly positive for decades to come.”

Facebook has seen unprecedented success by amassing more than 2.3 billion people worldwide who actively use the social network to share updates, obtain information and connect with new people.

Despite the wave of scandals, Facebook took in a record $22 billion profit for 2018 as revenues surged to $55 billion.

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Zuckerberg has acknowledged that Facebook needs to do more to restore trust, and ferret out misinformation and abuse, and on Monday repeated his pledge to spend more “on safety and security.”

His comments come 15 years after he and classmates at Harvard University founded what was known as “the facebook” and began a mission described by Zuckerberg as connecting the world.


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Austrian man held in Dutch cellar family ‘waiting for end of time’ case

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Dutch police were holding an Austrian man after the discovery of a father and his adult children who were believed to have stayed hidden in a remote farmhouse for years, officials said Wednesday.

The mystery surrounding the case in the village of Ruinerwold in the northern province of Drenthe also deepened with reports that one of the children had been active on social media this year.

Police said they discovered a father and five children aged between 18 and 25 on Monday and arrested a 58-year-old man -- not the father -- for failing to cooperate. They initially spoke of six children but later revised the number down.

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Federal judge overturns ObamaCare’s transgender protections, because Jesus

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A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has overturned the protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.

On Tuesday Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush, "vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited providers and insurers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy," The Hill reports.

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Sanctuaries protecting gun rights and the unborn challenge the legitimacy and role of federal law

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In June 2019, the small Texas town of Waskom declared itself a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

Waskom’s city council passed an ordinance that labels groups – like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others – that perform abortions or assist women in obtaining them “criminal organizations.”

The ordinance borrows from a similar resolution passed in March by Roswell, New Mexico. Unlike the merely rhetorical Roswell resolution, however, the Texas law bans most abortions within city limits. There are no abortion providers in the town, so it is not clear how the town would enforce the ordinance. It might, perhaps, deter an organization from opening a clinic.

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