Mark Zuckerberg makes stop at KU, speaks to students - KCTV5

Mark Zuckerberg makes stop at KU, speaks to students

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Mark Zuckerberg made a stop at KU on Friday. (Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg made a stop at KU on Friday. (Facebook)
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

In front of a select group of KU students, Facebook's founder chatted with University Provost Neeli Bendapudi about building a social media empire, forming online communities, and some of the controversies surrounding his company.

“This is an area where we have a great responsibility,” the 33-year-old billionaire said.

Bendapudi asked Zuckerberg directly about social media's role in Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.

“I think it's clear that the Russians used these tools to sow distrust,” he said.

He told the crowd that his company wants to be transparent with investigators to prevent future incidents and that his company plans to double the amount of workers focusing on cybersecurity.

“Facebook is part of a much bigger process, in the way the Russians tried to attack our democratic process,” he said.

The university did not allow media to attend the event and only invited a handful of people to hear the Facebook found speak.

“I was so excited, I was bouncing off the walls,” Miranda Clark-Ulrich, a KU law student, said with regard to being invited.

KCTV5 News asked students who did attend about what they thought of Zuckerberg's answers.

Many said that they left feeling inspired.

“He was motivational, which I didn't expect,” Clark-Ulrich said. “He used the word ‘optimistic’ all the time.”

Tom Babb said, “I really liked the answers about transparency.”

“It was kind of interesting how he answered the question,” Colt Price, a KU business student, said. “To see the business side of him, it was so interesting to see how his mind works,” Price said.

“Facebook's very aware of what's going on and that people are concerned about it,” noted Clark-Ulrich.

Zuckerberg focused largely on the idea of community, and also spoke about the opioid crisis and the importance of optimism in the business world.

“Community, local community are much more important than most people realize,” Zuckerberg said.

Babb especially liked what Zuckerberg had to say about creating new communities online.

The KU student became paralyzed after a swimming accident in 2015 and said Facebook played a vital role in helping him find resources and connect with people on a new level.

“Facebook allowed me to express my gratitude to the online community,” Babb said. “It’s been a big part of my story.”

KU was the last stop on Zuckerberg's tour across the U.S.

Zuckerberg streamed his appearance at KU live on Facebook for those who could not attend. 

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