Zuckerberg keeps trying to rewrite history
On Thursday, Zuckerberg went off the script. In a talk at Georgetown university, the CEO was described as defiantand repeatedly tried to hammer home a single point: Facebook doesn't want to police free speech.
That is, of course, when money and politics are involved. I wrote a few days ago about how Zuckerberg and his team had decided arbitrarily that misinformation was totally at home on Facebook, provided you were paying money to run it as an advertisement, which was opaquely spineless: the company doesn't really care about the truth, provided it's making a buck.
“I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression,” he said, forgetting that free expression isn't the same as spreading false information, a practice that's banned on the platform generally.
The too long, didn't read of the speech: free speech is good, but we'll take things down when and how we want, with rules that arbitrarily change and you won't know about because community is good. A dubious, televised speech from someone that wasn't elected and is arguably more powerful than any single leader, who can't be removed from power feels like free speech!
The content of the speech couldn't have been more juxtapositioned by irony, with the Facebook stream largely showing positive emoji and comments...because the algorithm was opaquely tuned to only weight toward those. Free speech!
Zuckerberg usually doesn't have a stance, and his public speeches are generally edited down by PR people ahead of time. This time around, he reportedly wrote the speech himself, refusing to show any editors ahead of giving it, because he wanted to make a personal point and attempt to reposition Facebook as the good guy, politically speaking.
What really irked me, and many other commentators, however was that the speech was also used as an attempt to rewrite the company's history, again.
Zuckerberg has a knack for this, trying to position the origin story away from the hot or not app it was originally born from, now pushing it toward trying to unify people's diverse opinions, a thing he suggests could have helped prevent the Iraq war, if only Facebook had existed.
Perhaps it's the Friday night beer I've already had talking, but maybe Zuckerberg should stop focusing on trying to look like the good guy constantly, and actually do something not shit instead? The company, and CEO, are obsessed with being in the right right in the history books, rather than actually doing the right thing.
And that reality distortion, as we're seeing repeatedly, is probably more dangerous than anything else.
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