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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just laid out a new mission for the 13-year-old social network, which he said is close to 2 billion users, aiming to change the narrative around online behavior.
With debate raging about online bullying and Facebook shouldering some of the blame for the spread of fake news, Zuckerberg has spent much of this year traveling around the country. He plans to eventually meet people in every state.
"People are basically good," Zuckerberg said Thursday in Chicago at Facebook's inaugural Communities Summit, a meeting for administrators of Facebook groups. "Everyone genuinely wants to help other people."
Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook communities can fill the void left by declining religious participation.
"We're going to start rolling out some tools, make it easier to build communities," Zuckerberg said. That includes helping to "offer insights into who your members are and how they're using your communities."
The average Facebook user is a member of 30 groups, he said.
The audience consisted of Facebook users who had built their own online support groups for parents, victims of domestic abuse and even one for locksmiths. Some of the leaders joined Zuckerberg on stage.
The announcement follows a recent set of pledges from the company to be more transparent about addressing some big questions, including whether social media is good for democracy.
"We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities," Zuckerberg said. That "will strengthen the social fabric, bring the world closer together."