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Zuckerberg defends messaging app and explains why Facebook isn’t cool in public Q&A

Mark Zuckerberg zipped through a bunch of questions from Facebook users during the company’s first public Q&A session on Thursday.

Held at its Menlo Park headquarters in Silicon Valley, the hour-long session pulled questions from a special page posted on the social networking site last week that invited questions from its 1bn+ users. While some were read out by a chairperson or presented via video, a few of the chosen ones flew in from across the U.S. to ask Zuckerberg their question in person.

Why Facebook Messenger?

First up was one of the most popular inquiries on the thread – “Mark, why did you force us to install Facebook Messenger?”facebook qa

Zuckerberg acknowledged that asking everyone in the community to download another app “is a big ask” but felt that offering messaging as a standalone app would provide users with a better experience, with faster access.

“Even though it was a short-term painful thing to ask folks to install a separate messaging app, we knew that we could never deliver the quality of experience as just a tab in the main Facebook app, and that if we really want to focus on serving this well, we needed to build a dedicated and focused experience.”

The Social Network

In other responses, the Facebook boss spoke about the 2010 Aaron Sorkin-penned movie The Social Network, which dramatized the company’s early years.

“I kind of blocked that one out,” Zuckerberg said to audience laughter, adding, “It was a very interesting experience to watch a movie that was supposedly about my life…I think the reality is that writing code and building a product and building a company actually is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about. So you can probably imagine a lot of the stuff they had to embellish.”

He said that while the movie’s production team obviously went out of its way to get some of the details right, such as the design of the Facebook office, it got it wrong when it came to just about everything else. “They just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful,” Zuckerberg said.

For example, he explained that the plot line suggested he started Facebook to attract women, quipping that if that’d been the case, “it probably would not have gone over too well in my relationship” with Priscilla Chan, his then girlfriend and now wife.

In another question asking if Facebook was losing its charm and becoming boring, Zuckerberg responded by saying, “My goal was never to make Facebook cool. I am not a cool person. Our model for Facebook has never been to try to make it exciting to use; we just want to make it useful.”

In all, Facebook’s first public Q&A seemed to go down well with the audience. Even Zuckerberg seemed to enjoy it. If you fancy checking out the session in full, hit the link to head over to the event’s page.