Facebook facilitated the destabilising of American democracy

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is, at 32, a billionaire and one of the most powerful men in the world.

The social media tycoon has just posted a 5,700-word manifesto that overflows with high-minded good intentions and almost endless possibility about improving the lot of humanity.

It may seem churlish to respond with, at best, guarded enthusiasm but any welcome must be tempered by the role Facebook plays in our world.

During the American presidential election it was one of the primary conduits for fake news — or, as it was once known, lies posing as propaganda. Like it or not, Facebook facilitated the destabilising of American democracy.

It is always best to judge people by their actions rather than what they say they will do. In Ireland, the Facebook corporate tax bill was €16.53m last year, representing 0.002% of revenues of €7.89bn.

If Mr Zuckerberg wants to change the world for the better, then that farcical but legal position might be an obvious starting point.

Doctor, heal thyself indeed.

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