Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the real-name policy, science and working out

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions on the social network Tuesday about an array of topics from the company’s real-name policy to working out.

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, physicist Stephen Hawking and The Huffington Post editor-in-chief Ariana Huffington also participated in the online discussion.

Here’s a recap of some of the topics Zuckerberg covered in the Q&A:

Real-name Policy

Alex Kantrowitch: Hi Mark, you made a tool to let everyone put rainbow flags over their profile pictures, but you also insist on having people use their real names on Facebook. Many people in the trans community consider this discriminatory and even argue it puts their lives at risk. Are you going to end the practice?

Zuckerberg: This is an important question. Real names are an important part of how our community works for a couple of reasons.First, it helps keep people safe. We know that people are much less likely to try to act abusively towards other members of our community when they’re using their real names. There are plenty of cases — for example, a woman leaving an abusive relationship and trying to avoid her violent ex-husband — where preventing the ex-husband from creating profiles with fake names and harassing her is important. As long as he’s using his real name, she can easily block him.Second, real names help make the service easier to use. People use Facebook to look up friends and people they meet all the time. This is easy because you can just type their name into search and find them. This becomes much harder if people don’t use their real names.

That said, there is some confusion about what our policy actually is. Real name does not mean your legal name. Your real name is whatever you go by and what your friends call you. If your friends all call you by a nickname and you want to use that name on Facebook, you should be able to do that. In this way, we should be able to support everyone using their own real names, including everyone in the transgender community. We are working on better and more ways for people to show us what their real name is so we can both keep this policy which protects so many people in our community while also serving the transgender community.


Stephen Hawking: I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?

Zuckerberg: That’s a pretty good one! I’m most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I’m also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is.

Working out

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Mark, I always tell people that nobody is too busy to exercise, especially if Popes and Presidents find time. You’ve got to be one of the busiest guys on the planet, and younger generations can probably relate to you more than they can the Pope – so tell me how you find time to train and what is your regimen like? And by the way – will the machines win?

Zuckerberg: Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit. I make sure I work out at least three times a week — usually first thing when I wake up. I also try to take my dog running whenever I can, which has the added bonus of being hilarious because that basically like seeing a mop run. And no, the machines don’t win 🙂


Ariana Huffington: Facebook has played a huge role in the digital publishing industry over the past few years. Based on everything you’ve learned, how do you think the way journalists and news organizations present their stories online will evolve over the next few years? And what types of products are you focused on in this space?

Zuckerberg: I think there will be a couple of trends towards richness and speed / frequency. On richness, we’re seeing more and more rich content online. Instead of just text and photos, we’re now seeing more and more videos. This will continue into the future and we’ll see more immersive content like VR. For now though, making sure news organizations are delivering increasingly rich content is important and it’s what people want. On speed / frequency, traditional news is thoroughly vetted but this model has a hard time keeping us with important things happening constantly. There’s an important place for news organizations that can deliver smaller bits of news faster and more frequently in pieces. This won’t replace the longer and more researched work, and I’m not sure anyone has fully nailed this yet.

The Invention of Poking

Miller Savetz: Why did you come up with Poking?

Zuckerberg: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Photo Credit: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote speech at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference Wednesday morning, April 30, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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  • aticusfinch

    The safety facade is always a good rationalization. Look, if laws are being broken and if you fear for your safety then there are methods of determining who is responsible for harassment. As far as making it easy for friends to find me, perhaps that is a choice *I* should be in control of