Most people are familiar with the story of Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook in his college dorm at the Ivy League Harvard University. By 22, he was a millionaire. And by 23, he was the youngest self-made billionaire. His name is essentially a synonym for Facebook. Zuckerberg’s company is a household name that symbolizes entrepreneurial start up success.
He has been revered as a true tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and businessman on Wall Street, the best of both worlds as the two industries begin to merge.
Zuckerberg and his company Facebook are indirectly related in providing psychological data and consumer profiles to politicians via Cambridge Analytica. Despite blatantly knowing for years about what Cambridge Analytica was doing, Zuckerberg and his colleagues did nothing to combat the invasion of privacy and harvesting of data.
In 14 years, Facebook has amassed over two Billion active monthly users, and five new profiles are created every second. Zuckerberg is no doubt intelligent, but he swims in a sea of sorry’s, lies, and manipulation.
The past couple of years has been a roller coaster for social media, news, and the overlapping of the two. Between June of 2015 and August of 2017, millions of Americans saw Facebook ads and posts produced by Russian operatives seeking to sow political discord. The mission was a complete success. A paper published in Political Communication by Young Mie Kim at the University of Wisconsin revealed that of the “suspicious” ads, one in six turned out to be associated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian propaganda group.
One of Facebook’s founding mottos was to ‘move fast and break things,’ but quickly changed it for obvious PR reasons.
Unfortunately, because of the money to be made, personal database indexes, and advertising potential; businesses, military branches, and our government will continue to put power, greed, and control over any moral obligations. Businesses, military branches, and government have celebrated this freedom by adopting startup culture’s management philosophies: very similar to ‘moving fast and breaking things.’
As we lose our privacy, data, and political stability – Mark Zuckerberg and his capitalistic colleagues continue to be rewarded for their lies, bribes, and theatrical public hearings. After his testimony, the Facebook stocks rose because of investors ‘confidence’ in his testimony.. but what about the privacy and corruption concerns we learned about during the hearing?
How long will we put money over morals and allow democracy to suffer as a result?
- Back in a 2009 BBC news interview, Mark specifically stated that Facebook would never sell user data. Now, 87 Million Facebook users have had their data harvested without consent by political firms. Mark tells us they don’t sell data to anyone, but then admits their fault in providing user data access to 3rd parties like Cambridge Analytica. Semantics. Simply put, Facebook’s business model is embedded in collecting consumer data to make a profit.
- Here he is apologizing for a psychological experiment that unknowingly manipulated user news feeds to create particular emotional responses. Almost 700,000 users were fed an algorithmic news feed that fostered certain emotional responses. The filtered news feeds could make you feel good or bad. This article published in 2014, summarizes it quite accurately…
Clay Johnson, one of the founders of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama’s online campaign for the 2008 presidency, said: “Could the CIA incite revolution in Sudan by pressuring Facebook to promote discontent? Should that be legal? Could Mark Zuckerberg swing an election by promoting Upworthy posts two weeks beforehand? Should that be legal?”
- Here he is traveling the country on his “Great American Road Trip,” visiting every state to learn more about Facebook’s users. He visited churches, workplaces, and homes to chat with people and see how they’re thinking about the future.People have speculated that this is an early form of candidacy for a Presidential run. But does a pioneer of the Great American Road Trip sound like someone who also said this?
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Zuckerberg’s Bribes & Theatrical Public Hearings
The members of the House and Senate committees that questioned Mark about user privacy protection last week are some of the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from Facebook.
The questioning by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11th, received over $380,000 in contribution money since 2007.
Another prime example is Ted Cruz at the Congressional Testimony saying how he and many Americans are “deeply concerned” about the “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”
However, I wonder why Ted didn’t want to talk about being one of Cambridge Analytica’s biggest clients in his 2016 Presidential Run? He spent over $5.8 Million in services provided by Cambridge Analytica, the very firm that the Senate was “grilling” in the hearing.
How can some Senators advocate for the public’s privacy, when Zuckerberg is being covered by the Press, but then receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of campaign contributions from Facebook and buy our personal data from third parties like Cambridge Analytica?
More importantly, how can our Senate and House Committees say they care, when they repealed internet privacy laws allowing our isp’s to be collected and sold for personal private data? While the nation was distracted with the supposed ‘repeal and replace’ of the Affordable Care Act, the Senate quickly scheduled a vote to roll back privacy laws. Selling our privacy to the highest bidder.
Their business models will continue to maximize profit over privacy.
The Frightful Five, Ex Facebook Execs, and Going Forward
The Frightful Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google make up half of the top 10 most valuable companies in the U.S. stock market. They have been merging and acquiring new companies and services for years. For example, Google owns Youtube, Waze, and Motorola. Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Amazon owns Zappos.
Farhad Manjoo, a NYTimes tech columnist says that “with the amount of money they have, they have become more like governments than companies.” They are investing and inventing technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Car as a Service, Drones, etc… they are building the future infrastructure of the country, which is what governments used to do.
Ironically, the very companies that scaled startup success out of their garages and dorm rooms, are limiting the ones trying to do that now. These five companies have essentially created a glass ceiling when it comes to startup growth and success. The Frightful Five own all the cloud-storage services. For example, when you watch Netflix movies, they are actually stored on Amazon servers. Or when you host your app on either Apple or Google App Stores, ~15-30% of that money goes to them.
The Ex VP for User Growth at Facebook was quoted saying ‘the short-term, dopamine driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. Eroding the core foundations of how people behave with each other.’ In a similar statement by Sean Parker, Facebook’s founding president, said Facebook exploits human vulnerabilities.
Facebook collects a vast amount of data on us, profiles it, and creates a risk assessment about our future decisions and actions. We recently learned that Facebook collects data about people who are not even on Facebook. And it’s not just Facebook, the rest of the Frightful Five are doing the same thing.
Unfortunately, Facebook will only receive a slap on the wrist, much like the Equifax Breach that keeps getting worse. Technology is not inherently bad, but it’s also not inherently good. Tools are great, but we need to be more skeptical of the technological tools we use in our everyday lives and overall impact they have on society.