Anirudh RegidiJun 28, 2019 12:58:11 IST
Let me get this straight, the founder of the company that operates three of the largest social media platforms in the world, platforms that are host to the data of every denizen of the digital world, a company that offers tools powerful enough to disrupt governments, undermine democracy, spread and amplify hate speech, and destabilise the world, a company that aims to “disrupt” the global financial system, the founder of this company claims that dealing with election interference from nation-states is “above his pay grade”?
Need I even bother naming the company?
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped this gem of a statement and more at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, US.
“As a private company, we don’t have tools to make the Russian government stop”
Zuckerberg’s disingenuous statement completely glosses over the fact that the Russian government, which stands accused of systematically undermining the 2016 US election process that saw Donald Trump elected, used tools that Facebook readily made available to anyone for the asking.
Cambridge Analytica, the firm accused of manipulating users into voting for Trump and for Brexit in the UK also used tools readily made available to them via Facebook. Yes, the data the company used to hone said tools into weapons was obtained under dubious circumstances, but these were circumstances in Facebook’s control.
The genocide of the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar, which also involved the rape of countless women and the murder of children, was ably supported, again, by tools that Facebook makes available to anyone for the asking.
Can Facebook do something about this abuse? ‘course it can. All Zuckerberg needs to do is withdraw the tools that enables this level of manipulation. You know, make it a platform that’s about people and not businesses? Oh, but it would be so cruel to leave overburdened advertisers in the lurch, right? Where else would they dump that excess of cash?
“We’ve seen increased activity from Iran and other countries.”
Well, duh. What did you think would happen, Zuckerberg?
Countries with limited military resources (and a bone to pick with “oppressive western regimes”) wouldn’t want to take advantage of a free tool, that you provide, a tool that could allow them to cause disproportionate harm to digitally dependent countries like the US and UK?
What pressure is the US government going to apply here? Force these ‘disaffected’ countries to cut their internet lines? #DeleteFacebook?
Hey, that’s an idea! #DeleteFacebook. Since the source of everyone’s trouble is Facebook, why not break up the company? Dismantle the instrument that’s disrupting the world. No more Facebook = happier, safer world. Sure, there will be other disruptive tools, but none will have the power of the Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp trio.
Oh wait, various senators, ex-Facebook employees – including Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and human rights activists already think that breaking up Facebook is the best way forward. What’s preventing them from making the world a better place and, you know, doing what's right? Facebook.
“We’ve ramped up massively on the security side, but there’s very little that we can do on our own to change the incentives for nation states to act. That’s something that is a little above our pay grade.”
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