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Can Facebook pursue a social mission and go public at the same time?

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Brian Snyder/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to reporters at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in November. While Facebook prepares for a public stock offering Zuckerberg has also told the public and potential investors that his company has a 'social mission' too.

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Facebook’s IPO listing [Initial Public Offering, or first sale of stock to the public] has caused quite a stir in the business community.  

But Zuckerberg writes in a lengthy letter that his missions behind Facebook are not purely monetary. Rather, he writes that Facebook was created with “a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.”  And he goes on to say, “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services."

 "Facebook was not originally founded to be a company. We've always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we're building and the people who use them. This is a different approach for a public company to take, so I want to explain why I think it works...,” Zuckerberg says.

Bear in mind that this is a letter reaching out to potential investors. And its focus is not just on the monetary charms of getting a piece of the Facebook pie. Rather, Zuckerberg is arguing for a broader, deeper social impact.

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