It was an easy choice.
It was a common one, and I had been searching for an answer to that question for years.
For the past year, I’d spent countless hours reading articles, listening to podcasts, and attending conferences to learn more about how people connect, think, and act online.
After all, the Internet is so much more than just a text-based tool for communicating, but a vibrant community with an ever-expanding range of people and ideas that can be shared and understood.
But what I found was a different kind of conversation that was being silenced, with no answers or solutions.
When I asked people what they wanted to hear more of from the public sphere, I found a variety of answers: an emphasis on connecting, an emphasis that the world is changing, and an emphasis to make our work more relevant to those with less power and access.
I was met with the most boring responses: people telling me that they were “stuck” and didn’t know how to move forward.
I got messages from people asking me to “just shut up and take it,” to “take a break,” to talk to people who had “no one to turn to,” and to stop being “nice” to each other.
This silence is a powerful, powerful thing, and it’s a powerful thing because it makes us vulnerable to the same thing we want to avoid: the fear of losing control.
I knew that silence was a real thing, so when I heard people who were afraid of speaking out being met with a mix of exasperation and exasperation, I was worried that I had lost the conversation.
But as I looked at this problem from an intersectional lens, I realized that the solution was not only the right thing, it was the only thing.
Because while we have more power than anyone else, we also have more privilege, because we’re more connected and connecteder than anyone.
And the more connected we are to the people who make us and the things that shape our lives, the more we need to be heard, listened to, and supported.
This is a conversation that’s happening all over the world, with people of all ages and races speaking up to support one another.
But while we’re all speaking up, we’re not hearing from one another directly.
I think that’s a huge missed opportunity.
And so it’s been a pleasure to sit with some of my most passionate colleagues, to hear their stories and to learn from them.
I’ve spoken to some of them directly and others via text and email, and have been able to understand why they want to do what they do, and how they feel about what they’re doing.
I’m particularly interested in how they’re responding to the rise of hate speech and trolling.
In our own way, we’ve made the internet a safe space.
We’ve made it an easy place to be marginalized.
But in so doing, we have also made it a place where people of color and people of faith have the power to voice their opinions and concerns and to create a space that allows them to connect, grow, and thrive.
And I think this conversation is a vital one.
We all have a stake in the future of our country.
We know that our nation’s future depends on us.
And I know that the internet is a tool that can serve as a great tool for the empowerment of all of us.
I want to thank my team at Facebook, our team of engineers and designers, and all of the amazing people on this team for their dedication to this important cause.
I look forward to working with them to build a better internet.
And speaking of the internet, there are many more stories that are yet to be told.
But today, I want all of you to know that while we are focused on the Internet, we are also building a better America.