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  • I wrote a column recently fact-checking

  • some of the claims that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg,

  • made in a recent speech at Georgetown University

  • and some subsequent testimony on Capitol Hill, in which he was

  • trying to defend the social media giant against accusations

  • of incorrect political advertising, election

  • manipulation, monopoly power, et cetera.

  • We at another crossroads.

  • We can either continue to stand for free expression,

  • understanding its messiness but believing

  • that the long journey towards greater progress

  • requires confronting ideas that challenge us.

  • Or we can decide that the cost is simply too great.

  • And I'm here today because I believe that we must continue

  • to stand for free expression.

  • Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook is part of the fifth estate.

  • That's a term that's generally used in the US

  • to explain members of the counterculture

  • - bloggers, journalists, who are outsiders.

  • It's also associated with a Detroit magazine,

  • an anarchist magazine that actually

  • was protesting, amongst other things, capitalism.

  • This is quite an irony for a man who

  • has become a billionaire by the industrial-level monetisation

  • of personal data.

  • That's another issue in Zuckerberg's speech

  • that I took exception to.

  • Facebook's business model - the targeted advertising business

  • model - has always been incredibly powerful.

  • In fact, if you go back to the original paper

  • that the inventors of surveillance capitalism,

  • Google, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin,

  • did in 1998 on search.

  • They actually talked about potential ways

  • that search and targeted advertising

  • could be misused by both companies,

  • but also potentially, public actors.

  • So it's very interesting that Sheryl Sandberg, Mark

  • Zuckerberg are claiming that they

  • didn't know how big and powerful Facebook could get.

  • The other thing that I take exception

  • to in Zuckerberg's speech is the idea

  • that Facebook is, in some way, a national champion for the US.

  • This is a line that you're hearing

  • a lot more of in Washington.

  • Big tech executives like to say that if they're broken up,

  • then China will move ahead of the US.

  • But the idea of a large multinational company

  • like Facebook being some kind of patriotic champion of America's

  • national interests is just patently false.

  • Facebook, like many other companies,

  • would love to be in China, but can't

  • be because of the ring-fenced digital ecosystem there.

  • So that's my fact check of Mark Zuckerberg.

I wrote a column recently fact-checking

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Facebook: the truth behind Mark Zuckerberg’s spin | Rana Report

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/23
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