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Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

As Facebook grew, Mark Zuckerberg and his executives adopted a core belief, Evan Osnos writes in The New Yorker after spending hours with Zuckerberg: "[E]ven if people criticized your decisions, they would eventually come around."

The big picture: For years, that was true. And Facebook reveled in its power: "Zuckerberg was convinced that he was ahead of his users, not at odds with them." It no longer is, of course, as Facebook faces blowback from users and government around the world: "As Facebook expanded, so did its blind spots."

Evan had a series of conversations with Zuckerberg over the summer (at his home, at his office, and by phone) and came away with unsparing insights into the challenges facing this most consequential of creations — and its creator:

  • "I found Zuckerberg straining, not always coherently, to grasp problems for which he was plainly unprepared."
  • "These are not technical puzzles to be cracked in the middle of the night but some of the subtlest aspects of human affairs, including the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence."
  • "Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders."
  • "To avoid further crises, he will have to embrace the fact that he’s now a protector of the peace, not a disrupter of it."

Evan's bottom line: "Zuckerberg is not yet thirty-five, and the ambition with which he built his empire could well be directed toward shoring up his company, his country, and his name. The question is not whether Zuckerberg has the power to fix Facebook but whether he has the will."

  • Leslie Berlin, a historian of technology at Stanford: "[T]he question Mark Zuckerberg is dealing with is: Should my company be the arbiter of truth and decency for two billion people? Nobody in the history of technology has dealt with that."

P.S. How his life has changed: "For many years, Zuckerberg ended Facebook meetings with the half-joking exhortation 'Domination!' Although he eventually stopped doing this (in European legal systems, 'dominance' refers to corporate monopoly), his discomfort with losing is undimmed."

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Go deeper

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

4 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.