Facebook CEO holds disaster discussion with UD faculty, civic leaders

University of Delaware photo.

(University of Delaware)

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2017 is to travel to and meet with people in the 30 states he has yet to visit and Monday, was the First State’s moment in the spotlight. Zuckerberg met with University of Delaware experts from the Disaster Research Center as well as other civic leaders to discuss community experiences in crisis response and resilience building.

Tricia Wachtendorf and James Kendra direct UD’sDisaster Research Center, the oldest center in the world focused on the social science aspects of disaster. Wachtendorf and Kendra were recently spotlighted on UD’sFacebookpage via Facebook Live as they shared their expertise in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and in advance of Hurricane Irma.

It was this Facebook Live broadcast and the DRC’s long-standing work in advancing the research on disasters that captured the attention of Zuckerberg and his team where they asked the DRC to put together a group to meet and have an informal discussion at the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant in Wilmington.


“We were so excited that we were able to pull together this insightful group,” Wachtendorf said. “DRC researchers are working closely with the community partners around the table, not only to advance disaster science, but to try to make a difference in people’s lives. I think the conversations we had today reflected those partnerships, and the pressing issue around community disaster impacts.”

The session comes as controversy swirls around Facebook and Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. CNBC and other sources reported the use of Facebook ads to reach those who would act to “hot button” controversies such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

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