Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook's 'social mission'

2nd Feb 2012 | 00:08

Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook's 'social mission'

CEO's lengthy letter revealed

Facebook's IPO filing contains a lengthy letter from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg which outlines the company's 'social mission' and its goals for the future.

The multi-page letter, which will be read by potential investors when FB goes public, says the social network wasn't built to be a money-making company but a service to bring people together.

Zuckerberg, who famously started Facebook from his Harvard University dorm and oversaw its growth to 800m members, said: "Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services."

The letter could be seen as a warning to would-be shareholders not to mistake Facebook's forthcoming IPO for the company changing tact and putting stock dividends above the interests of its mission.

Social mission

Below is an excerpt of the letter sent to investors:

"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.

"We think it's important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do. I will try to outline our approach in this letter.

"At Facebook, we're inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together...

"At Facebook, we build tools to help people connect with the people they want and share what they want, and by doing this we are extending people's capacity to build and maintain relationships...

"By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information...

"We have already helped more than 800 million people map out more than 100 billion connections so far, and our goal is to help this rewiring accelerate...

"We hope to improve how people connect to businesses and the economy. We think a more open and connected world will help create a stronger economy with more authentic businesses that build better products and services...

"Our developer platform has already enabled hundreds of thousands of businesses to build higher-quality and more social products. We have seen disruptive new approaches in industries like games, music and news, and we expect to see similar disruption in more industries by new approaches that are social by design...

"We believe building tools to help people share can bring a more honest and transparent dialogue around government that could lead to more direct empowerment of people, more accountability for officials and better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.

Building better services

"Facebook was not originally founded to be a company. We've always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we're building and the people who use them. This is a different approach for a public company to take, so I want to explain why I think it works...

"I started off by writing the first version of Facebook myself because it was something I wanted to exist. Since then, most of the ideas and code that have gone into Facebook have come from the great people we've attracted to our team...

"Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services...

"This is how we think about our IPO as well. We're going public for our employees and our investors. We made a commitment to them when we gave them equity that we'd work hard to make it worth a lot and make it liquid, and this IPO is fulfilling our commitment. As we become a public company, we're making a similar commitment to our new investors and we will work just as hard to fulfill it..

"Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do...

"We believe that we have an opportunity to have an important impact on the world and build a lasting company in the process. I look forward to building something great together."

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook IPO
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