Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his ambitious resolution for 2017 — to meet and talk to people in every state in the US by the end of the year. Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (3 December) that he would need to travel to 30 more states to complete his "personal challenge" for the New Year.
Some of the 32-year-old tech titan's previous New Year challenges included running 365 miles, building a simple artificial intelligence (AI) system for his household, reading 25 books and learning Mandarin.
"My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year," Zuckerberg wrote. "After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future."
The social media company faced a barrage of criticism over the past year over allegations of bias, censorship and not being proactive enough in dealing with the dissemination of fake news stories and conspiracy theories on the platform. Many also believed that the spread of fake news on Facebook may have helped President-elect Donald Trump win the elections in November. Zuckerberg has continued to dismiss the allegations as a "pretty crazy" idea, but vowed to address the social media network's fake news problem.
"Going into this challenge, it seems we are at a turning point in history," Zuckerberg wrote. "For decades, technology and globalization have made us more productive and connected. This has created many benefits, but for a lot of people it has also made life more challenging. This has contributed to a greater sense of division than I have felt in my lifetime. We need to find a way to change the game so it works for everyone."
Having enjoyed going on road trips with his wife Priscilla Chan and visited multiple cities across the globe, Zuckerberg says he is eager to explore more of the US and meet different people across the country.
Zuckerberg adds that his trips over the course of the year will involve road trips with Priscilla, visits to Facebook offices around the US, meetings with scientists and teachers and stops in small towns and universities.
"My work is about connecting the world and giving everyone a voice," Zuckerberg continues. "I want to personally hear more of those voices this year. It will help me lead the work at Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative so we can make the most positive impact as the world enters an important new period."
In September 2016, Zuckerberg and Priscilla pledged to invest at least $3bn (£2.45bn) over the next decade through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to "cure, prevent or manage all diseases".
Zuckerberg's announcement also comes amid speculation that he could eventually move into politics and one day make a bid for the White House.
In December 2015, unsealed court filings from a class action lawsuit filed back in late April revealed that Zuckerberg sought to be allowed to serve two years in government without losing control of Facebook, Bloomberg reported. In early March, venture capitalist and long-time Facebook board member Marc Andreessen reportedly texted Zuckerberg saying he would have to figure out "how to define the gov't service thing without freaking out shareholders that you are losing commitment".
After Zuckerberg posted a Christmas message on Facebook last year that reads, "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me," one commenter questioned him: "Aren't you an atheist?"
He responded, "No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important."