title: Reacting to Zuckerberg: Resisting a Double Standard
date: 2018-07-24 10:41:53
- Social Media Detox
As many of you know, recently, I have been struggling with spending too much time on social media. Deleting and shutting down accounts isn't really an option for me, not in my line of work. I had been trying to segregate personal use from professional use. I was using apps to limit my access to other apps. I was changing my phone's display to grayscale. I was adding plugins to both my laptop and desktop computers...
In short, it was more work staying off social media than I ever thought it would be. I was definitely showing signs of habitual addiction.
Then, I saw this spot on The Daily Show...
Yeah, that's Facebook. It is honestly that bad. The business model is in fact to do ANYTHING that keeps us on the site longer so the platform's customers (advertisers) can get more eyeball time and data from us. This video made it easier to stay away from Facebook.
Then, Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview to Recode reporter Kara Swisher...
Mark Zuckerberg: Our goal [is not] to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services. If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed.
Mark Zuckerberg doesn't ever plan to stop fake news on Facebook. He plans to limit its organic reach. He doesn't plan to limit its paid reach. So, the goal of Facebook, as a business, is indeed to use hateful, divisive, vitriolic lies to keep us on their site for as long as possible. They are happy to spread the message of whomever has the deepest pockets.
Also from that same interview (emphasis mine)...
Mark Zuckerberg: I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened.
Kara Swisher: Yes, there’s a lot.
Mark Zuckerberg: I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong, but I think ...
Kara Swisher: In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.
Mark Zuckerberg: It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, “We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.” What we will do is we’ll say, “Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.”
So, Mark Zuckerberg doesn't think that Holocaust Deniers are "intentionally getting it wrong." That really reminds me of Donald Trump saying that there were "some very fine people on both sides" at the rally in Charlottesville earlier this year.
Donald Trump did not want to alienate his voting base. I have no idea what he really believes and, in truth, that would not even factor into this discussion. His actions are what affect others, or in this case his inaction.
Mark Zuckerberg did not want to alienate his advertising base. I have no idea what he really believes and, in truth, that would not even factor into this discussion. His actions are what affect others, or in this case his inaction.
I feel that I have no choice but to view these two things equally. I don't support Trump-related businesses. So, Zuckerberg-related businesses need to be treated in exactly the same way.
But, since I am not Zuckerberg's customer, I am his product, my actions need to be tailored to that reality. My presence on any platform owned by Zuckerberg encourages people to use those platforms to communicate with me in that way. The longer those people are on a Zuckerberg owned platform, the more advertisements they see, the more data about them gets collected, and the more money Zuckerberg makes. So, as a product, I need to choose to not be sitting there on one of Zuckerberg's shelves to be purchased.
Here is a list of Zuckerberg-owned ventures. Luckily for me, I am not using that many of them. I can stop using Messenger, but I need to maintain an account on both Facebook and Instagram for work purposes. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. I don't know if it is true.
Many of you probably followed a link from within Facebook to find this article in the first place. That bugs me. Turning that feature off bugs me as well. If I am encouraging you to venture outside of Zuckerberg's Fiefdom to read this article, is it okay that it is advertised within his domain? I'm struggling with this one right now. I don't have an answer. And, I'd appreciate your thoughts.