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Facebook founder visits North Platte on trip through the countryTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Zuckerberg in the diesel shop

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stopped in North Platte's Bailey Yard Saturday as he travels across the central states.

“Nebraska has one of the largest train yards in the world at more than 8 miles long,” he said. “It's important national infrastructure for transporting everything from grain, lumber, fuel, cars, chemicals and goods.”

Zuckerberg said one guy he met "doesn't think city people in Omaha understand rural areas like North Platte or even know they exist. But with 40% of goods shipped across the country by rail, we all depend on the work people here do."

Zuckerberg is said to be considering a political career. He was in Iowa previously, and he attended part of the Heartland Pride Festival in Omaha on Saturday, a festival of gay pride.

“Thank you for taking time to visit our rural community of North Platte,” said Marci Frame of North Platte in a facebook reply. “Wish we could get more people like you to understand that our small communities are just as important as the metro areas. If you would ever like to see how a family farm of corn/soybeans are farmed let me know. We would be happy to show you how technology has improved farming.”

“There are some great ranches in the area too,” Lea Shaffer added.


Zuckerberg’s facebook posts from his trip are informative and a touch philosophical. He usually gives a little information about the places where he stops, as well as a little advice.

For instance, at a small town in Iowa, he urged people to move if they are unhappy and if they want to improve the quality of their lives. He recognized some of the new faces, including the mayor, in Wilton, Iowa, pop. 2,000. And he noted that the town’s development director returned after moving away for awhile.


Driverless trucks

Facebook has teamed with Google for several years to share digital platforms and information. The two technology leaders, especially Google, are also near the forefront in the development of automated, driverless cars and trucks.

At a truck stop and travel center stop in Iowa, Zuckerberg talked to truck drivers about the prospect, which would reduce jobs, or at least the driving skills that are needed.

“I asked a number of truckers what they think about self-driving cars and trucks and what they think about the future,” he said. “Everyone I met was skeptical self-driving trucks would replace jobs for different reasons.”

“Some thought it would be impossible to pack all the sensors you need to deal with things like weather into trucks,” Zuckerberg said on his blog. “Others thought computers could handle the interstate, but not the last mile to the store. And some truckers think we'll end up with something like autopilot on planes -- with trucks driving themselves with people in the cab.”

“From all the research I've seen, I'm confident we'll solve these problems,” Zuckerberg said. “But it's interesting that people in the industry don't believe this will happen soon.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/25/2017
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