In a long letter on his Facebook page Thursday, Zuckerberg lamented the rise of isolationism and the backlash against globalization. When Facebook launched in 2004 supporting a more connected, global community was not controversial, he wrote.
"Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection," wrote Zuckerberg. "There are questions about whether we can make a global community that works for everyone, and whether the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course."
Facebook and the wider tech community have been reeling since the election of President Donald Trump, which seemed to underline just how out of touch Silicon Valley has been with the rest of the U.S. There's growing concern that Trumpian policies that emphasize protectionism and prioritize old technology over new will precipitate a backlash against the tech companies themselves.
The anti-globalization movement has taken hold in other countries as well, with the U.K. voting to withdraw from the European Union and rightist Marine LePen showing a strong chance of becoming France's next president.
With this post, Zuckerberg seems to be speaking directly to those who might feel disenfranchised in light of the rise of new technologies. "The best solutions for improving discourse may come from getting to know each other as whole people instead of just opinions — something Facebook may be uniquely suited to do."
He also addressed critics who believe that Facebook has not done enough to combat fake news, including posts that some people said influenced the presidential election — an idea that Zuckerberg previously called "pretty crazy."
He is not, however, suggesting taking a hard-line approach against fake news: "Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item's accuracy," he wrote.
The post — which makes no mention of Facebook as a business — is likely to fuel speculation about Zuckerberg's interests beyond steering the social media giant to greater profitability.
The young CEO's annual New Year's resolution — to meet people in every U.S. state — ignited discussion about whether Zuckerberg was positioning himself for a role in politics, something he has denied.
Zuckerberg concluded with a kind of get-out clause and attempt to reassure the community.
"Facebook is a work in progress, and we are dedicated to learning and improving," he wrote. "We take our responsibility seriously, and today I want to talk about how we plan to do our part to build this global community."