Fuckerberg is the winner


Chelsea Hornick-Becker of Avaaz.org holds a protest sign in front of dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Mark Zuckerberg outside of the Capitol Building in Washington. PHOTO/Reuters/Leah Millis/The Wire (India)

On one Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit, character of Julian Assange (founder, WikiLeaks, played by Bill Hader), described the irony of differences to his audience regarding him and Mark Zuckerberg (played by Andy Samberg):

“Ah! What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Let’s take a look: I give you private information on corporations for free… and I’m a villain; Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations FOR money… and he’s Man of the Year [Time magazine].”

The Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar empire is built on deceit, on letting advertisers target Facebookers, performing psychological experiment on Facebook users, and on offering apologies after every crime or wrongdoing.

In 2003, Zuckerberg started with Facemash and before long was out with an apology:

“… I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect to consider how quickly the site would spread and its consequences thereafter.”

Between 2004 and 2018 Zuckerberg has apologized numerous times for sharing the users’ information. He has done the same, albeit, on a greater scale this time, and has increased his billions manifold, while not forgetting to throw in a sentence here and there of how much good he is doing for the world, e.g.:

“By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.”

Some apologies:

We did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control over them.” (2006)

“We just missed the mark.” “We heard the feedback.” “There needs to be a simpler way to control your information.” (2010)

“I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes.” (2011)

I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Basically, Zuckerberg belongs to the gang of billionaire criminals competing with each other for the top slot. Currently he’s the fifth richest person. He’s one of the most powerful people in the world; although, from his appearance he may seem a commoner.

His interviews create the impression of a community leader. He calls Facebook users a “community”. In a recent interview to Vox, he used that word 17 times. But the harm many of the members of this community can do, will only be felt by the victims among them.

Zuckerberg’s mission, according to his Facebook post, is to “connect the world.” It is an expensive mission. Facebook’s lobbying expenditure in 2017 was $11.5 million, an increase of 32% from 2016. Since 2009, Facebook has spent $52.6 million on lobbying. Connecting the Facebook community does not come free, or even cheap!

(One wishes Zuckerberg would also try to connect whites and colored people at his company by hiring more blacks and Latinos instead of openly discriminating against them by grossly under-representing these demographics.)

Zeynep Tufeksi in her Wired article calls him out on his “Facebook community” bullshit. It is necessary to quote her at length:

“As far as I can tell, not once in his apology tour was Zuckerberg asked what on earth he means when he refers to Facebook’s 2 billion-plus users as “a community” or “the Facebook community.” A community is a set of people with reciprocal rights, powers, and responsibilities. If Facebook really were a community, Zuckerberg would not be able to make so many statements about unilateral decisions he has made—often, as he boasts in many interviews, in defiance of Facebook’s shareholders and various factions of the company’s workforce. Zuckerberg’s decisions are final, since he controls all the voting stock in Facebook, and always will until he decides not to—it’s just the way he has structured the company.

“Facebook’s 2 billion users are not Facebook’s “community.” They are its user base, and they have been repeatedly carried along by the decisions of the one person who controls the platform. These users have invested time and money in building their social networks on Facebook, yet they have no means to port the connectivity elsewhere. Whenever a serious competitor to Facebook has arisen, the company has quickly copied it (Snapchat) or purchased it (WhatsApp, Instagram), often at a mind-boggling price that only a behemoth with massive cash reserves could afford. Nor do people have any means to completely stop being tracked by Facebook. The surveillance follows them not just on the platform, but elsewhere on the internet—some of them apparently can’t even text their friends without Facebook trying to snoop in on the conversation. Facebook doesn’t just collect data itself; it has purchased external data from data brokers; it creates “shadow profiles” of nonusers and is now attempting to match offline data to its online profiles.

“Again, this isn’t a community; this is a regime of one-sided, highly profitable surveillance, carried out on a scale that has made Facebook one of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization.”

Data belonging to 50 million members of this “community” was given to the London-based elections consultancy called Cambridge Analytica as reported by the New York Times and the Guardian in March 2018. That figure was later revised to 87 million.

This time the outcry forced Zuckerberg to appear before US congressional committees. Some questions pointed out the dominance of Facebook on social media, its playing with people’s privacy, it’s policy of making users responsible for their privacy, etc.

“[Facebook is a] virtual monopoly” [and that] “continued self-regulation is not the right answer when it comes to dealing with the abuses we have seen on Facebook.” Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina)

“Why is the onus on the user to opt in to privacy and security settings?” (Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat, Illinois)

Sen. Durbin: “Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”

Zuckerberg: “Uh — no.”

Durbin: “If you have messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you have messaged?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.”

Durbin: “I think that might be what this is all about — your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you’d give away in modern America.” Senator Dick Durbin (Republican, Illinois)

Senator John Kennedy: “I say this gently: Your user agreement sucks.” “The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook’s rear end. It’s not to inform your users about their rights. You know that, and I know that.” (Republican, Louisiana)

Zuckerberg had come fully prepared to face the US Congress committees with help from paid experts.

By mistake, Zuckerberg left his notes open. One of them read: “Respectfully, I reject that,” it is “not who we are.”

Zuckerberg tried to portray himself innocent and unaware people could do harm:

didn’t know “how people could use these tools to do harm as well” through “fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy”

The problem with the Congressional hearings was that the senators and representatives should have asked Zuckerberg in advance to bring all the relevant and necessary documents with him, including the technical and other advisors because many of Zuckerberg’s answers were accompanied by the following bullshit: I am not aware of it or I do not know but my technical staff will get back to you. It is understood that nobody’s going to follow up and the issue is to be considered almost closed.

Once more Fuckerberg was the winner and showed his true self; he screwed the committee members. Nothing will happen to this billionaire criminal.

The unjust system is in good health and is going to live quite long into the future, under current conditions.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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