Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor speaks out against Facebook: “The law does not protect you”

So talk about when you started to get disillusioned. It took place in two phases, Amy. The first part of it was I got disillusioned
with Silicon Valley. Beginning around 2010, with the financing
of Spotify, and then going on to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and then Juul, I started to see companies
that were clearly the best of what Silicon Valley had to offer but whose essential being
violated my values. That Airbnb and Uber and Lyft were really
about breaking the law. That they basically said, “The law doesn’t
apply to us.” Spotify was about essentially profiting at
the expense of musicians. Juul of course was about addicting young people
to nicotine. And I just said, “I can keep investing other
people’s money if I’m not willing to invest in the best stuff coming out of my community.” So I decided it was time for me to retire. And when I made the decision in 2012, my fund
still had a few years to run, so I had to wait until it ended. It ended at the end of 2015. And then immediately, January of 2016, in
the context of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, I saw hate speech being circulated
from Facebook groups that were notionally associated with the Bernie Sanders campaign. And it was obvious that Bernie had nothing
to do with it, but the thing that was also obvious was that the hate speech was spreading
so virally that someone had to be spending money to get my friends into these groups. And that really disturbed me. Then I saw civil rights violations relative
to Black Lives Matter taking place using the advertising tools of Facebook. But the clincher for me came in June of 2016
with the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. That was the first time that I realized, “Oh
my god. The same advertising tools that make Facebook
so useful for a marketer can be used to undermine democracy in an election.” That was when I started looking for allies,
and I couldn’t find any. Eventually, I was given an opportunity to
write an opinion piece for the Recode tech blog to raise my concerns. And before I got finished with it, in early
October the U.S. government announced the Russians were interfering in the election. And at that point, I scrambled to finish the
draft and I sent it to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. I mean, they were my friends. I had been their mentor. And I was really worried that something about
the culture, the business model and the algorithms of Facebook was allowing bad actors to harm
innocent people. And I couldn’t believe that they would do—that
Facebook would do this on purpose. And so I went to warn them nine days before
the presidential election. And unfortunately, they treated it like a
PR problem, not like a business issue. And they were nice enough in the sense that
they had one of their colleagues work with me for three months to let me try to lay out
my case. So between basically the end of October of
2016 and February of 2017, I was begging Facebook to do what Johnson & Johnson did after the
Tylenol poisoning in Chicago in 1982. The CEO dropped everything. He withdrew every bottle of Tylenol from every
retail shelf until they invented tamperproof packaging. And I thought Facebook should do something
like that, should work with the government to find out everything the Russians were doing,
to find out every other way the platform was being abused either to violate civil rights
or to undermine democracy. But for whatever reason, they just—maybe
I was the wrong messenger, maybe something about the way I delivered the message didn’t
work but they didn’t take it seriously. And I realized I was faced with a choice. I was so proud of that company and I had been
so closely involved, but I felt like I knew something I had to share with everybody. That I couldn’t just sit back and be retired
and let it go by. And so I decided to become an activist, which
is something I never anticipated doing. And I’ve spent essentially the last three
years every day doing nothing but trying to make the world aware of the dark side of internet
platforms like Facebook, like Google and to help people both protect themselves but to
protect their children, to protect democracy and to protect the economy. Let me go to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
speaking during a press call last year during which he dismissed claims Facebook ignored
Russia’s election meddling or undermined investigations. I have said many times before that we were
too slow to spot Russian interference, too slow to [inaudible] and too slow to get on
top of it. And we’ve certainly stumbled along the way. But to suggest that we weren’t interested
in knowing the truth or that we wanted to hide what we knew or that we tried to prevent
investigations is simply untrue. Your response to that? I think in Mark’s mind, he is doing the
right thing. But here’s where the problem comes in, Amy. Mark believes that the mission of connecting
the whole world on one seamless, frictionless platform is the most important thing anybody
can do on earth, and it justifies any means necessary to get there. I am sure in his own mind they felt like they
have been open with people, but the reality is quite different. Facebook is designed to be opaque. Google is designed to be opaque. And in a sense, they work together, because
Google manages all of the infrastructure behind digital advertising, and so they play a role
in that whole ecosystem that allows companies like Facebook to prevent anyone from inspecting
what is going on. The truth is, they had to know before the
election that there was something really wrong, because I’m sure I was not the only one
who brought it to their attention. But at the end of the day, their view of the
world is that they should just connect everybody and not be responsible for the consequences. What they told me was they said, “Roger,
the law says we’re a platform, not a media company. We’re not responsible for what third parties
do.” And I said, “Mark, Sheryl, this is a trust
business. The law doesn’t protect you if your users
believe that you’re undermining democracy, if they believe that you’re harming civil
rights, if you’re harming public health, if you’re harming privacy. There is no protection against that.” And that is what we’re seeing today. The issue that I run into is that in 2016,
I am willing to accept that maybe they didn’t pick up the right signals. God knows I didn’t. But once they were informed, once people like
me, once President Obama went to Mark, there was no excuse. And they have clearly spent the entire time
since then trying to use misdirection to keep us from seeing what really happened there—denying,
deflecting and delaying any kind of investigation. If they were really sincere about this, they
would have shown us every ad the Trump campaign showed on the platform. They would have shown everything that the
Russians did. They would have given us all of the billing
records. They would have done all of that kind of stuff. But they quite clearly haven’t done that. And it goes way beyond just elections, right? You have terrorism in Christchurch, New Zealand. You have ethnic cleansing in the Asian country
of Myanmar. You have hate speech around the world. You have mass killings in the United States. All of these things were enabled by internet
platforms like Facebook. And they did not go out of their way to cause
them to happen, but they never put in place any safety nets, any firewalls, anything to
protect users from the bad actors who are empowered by the way the algorithms and the
culture and the business model of Facebook work.

74 thoughts on “Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor speaks out against Facebook: “The law does not protect you””

  1. Aaron Maté
    Verified account @aaronjmate

    It is surreal, and sad, to have to keep urging @democracynow , where I learnt so much about doing actual journalism on critical issues (including by being skeptical of mainstream narratives) to do actual journalism on Russiagate, a most critical issue.
    3:47 PM – 23 Oct 2019

  2. Heaven forbid we should sacrifice our quality of life to actually change anything. You cannot have the quality of life that you currently have and a functional society, at least not without a global society. As long as we are still tiny little tribes called nations your quality of life comes at the cost of another.

  3. Twitter per suspensions prevents everyone from examining the tweets and replies of @maxrafaelwaller and @mrwaller3 that are critical in evaluating behavior

  4. Has anyone seen the default install settings for Windows OS & Server? It's different in the US than in Europe primarily because of the languages spoken there (diversity innately increases security). fakebook, in the US, is similarly different than in Europe, too. A PR approach to law describes facebook's pragmatism exactly, like asking kids if their candy is safe to eat.

  5. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. — Mark Twain

    Let's be real. Everyone lies. We all do it. Some are little lies, others are big, big lies.

    Donald Trump Tells Some Whoppers

    But while everyone lies, not everyone is a liar.

    A liar is a real special breed. They lie pathologically, constantly, and sometimes without even realizing it.

    When caught in a lie, they will probably try to gaslight you.

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but people would rather listen to lies than to a truth that they can’t comprehend.

  6. They will tell you China is wrong to disallow the use of these platforms in the name of freedom of speech. Western nonsense.

  7. Facebook is working with the government. 2016 was when the American people realized they can tell each other what they found out about their government and candidates real quick using social media tools and utilized it to usurp the strictly controlled media that never reported any truth.

  8. Without Facebook's mechanism and freedom, media like Democracy Now will never make it into a movement and will be strictly under money and power's control until it gets silenced or corrupted to the core.

  9. "An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than in truth and beauty
    _Jaron Lanier, inventor of virtual reality
    Check out his TED Talk and Norbert Wiener's predictions made in the 1950's.
    Our society will not survive a system that pretends one to one communication, while a third party quietly manipulates that interaction for its profit.

  10. Hey Roger McNamee, was there AT ANY TIME that the israeli Lobby AIPAC raise suspicions that they were INFLUENCING the USA 'elections' since the MID1960's, when AIPAC AND THE 'NEWS' MEDIA CALUDED TO MAKE SURE that no matter who the American people chose to be their next EMPTY HEADED PUPPET OF THE JEW, that the JEW lobby AIPAC would make the CHOICE of who the American people could 'choose FROM', so that no matter which empty-headed puppet of the JEW won, that NOTHING would change and that America would remain JEWmerica, the colony of israel, the zionazi IDIOTS FOR THE JEW, OR are you just another JACKASS of the JEW TOO?
    Joe Magnets

  11. I was doing database analytics during the 90s and I remember warning people about social engineering and profiling during 1997. People laughed at me. Technocrats are akin to pharaohs scribes.

  12. Yeah mate spend your whole life investing in companies that break the law but only when you've profited all you can and got a big fat pension do you decide to out them. I see straight through you pig.

  13. AOC made Zuck fck look down in shame like the little boy angry mad not being pretty enough to get a gf who isn't paid. Hit the gym for onec in your life you psycho haha Daniel Craig had no pretty face but he hit the gym and now he's Bond. It's not rocket science haha

  14. Russia gate was a lie and HE KNOWS THIS. So why did he bring it up, MAKES WE WONDER. The clintons got caught stealing the election against Bernie and had to go to court in NY. Debbie wasserman got busted for fixing the election in Florida against Tim Coanova. Wasserman went to court but the dem party threw out the ballads before court. RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA, IT`S ALL BS. I`m a vet and I like President Putin very much and it`s because of him and China we can no longer just bomb and kill innocent civilians and their children for a buck. America is fixing the elections and like most white politicians, THEY ALWAYS BLAME SOMEONE ELSE FOR THE DESTRUCTION THEY HAVE DONE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND OUR CONSTITUTION. Sometimes it`s the Blacks, or the Hispanics or Mexican`s and it`s always the poor people`s fault. Sometimes it`s Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, IT JUST GOES ON AND ON. BUT NO ONE HAS DONE MORE DAMAGE TO THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD THAN THE WHITE MAN, PERIOD. THERE IS NO COUNTRY MORE CORRUPT, KILLERS OF THE WORLD AND FIX ELECTIONS AROUND THE WORLD THAN WE DO, PERIOD.

  15. A law needs to demand AI algorithms be published to oversight or deny internet access to the authors & users of them a flash.

  16. He suggests censorship for protection and the scared sheeps of course agree?

    Watch out the Russians could be under your bed?

    Keep that fear mongering going and they will let you police them 24/7 in the name of safety!

  17. Zuckerberg is being paid big bucks for these so called advertisements, he doesn't care if it's Russians or Iranians doing the propaganda, as long as he continues to make big bucks and not have to pay taxes like the rest of us, to him, it's to hell with our country. That's the problem with all these billionaires/corporations, money before country or people.

  18. Lost me at "…hate groups associated with Bernie Sanders supporters…" despite the reality of the negaverse. Roger needs to get his story straight. Hillary had Russian Bots attacking all Bernie Sanders social media, posting very strange, illegible posts. As soon as she lost the election it was all about Trump and Russia

  19. The correct word is unraveled, not enabled! It was in certain mindsets for centuries! In other words, Zuckenberg couldn't control any outcome!

  20. Actually, anyone could have made use of Facebook to obtain the same results as Trump and Russia and they chosed not to.

    To promote anything at Facebook at that time, was dirth cheap. Besides, Facebook would allow you to socialize the propaganda and see people's opinions on any sujec.

    Facebook was the best tool for the job. Many politicians with more resources chosed to ignore it.

  21. I have been horribly bullied and targeted by Facebook "outrage" groups because I breed dogs. I think the problem is there is no accountability to the truth and defammation goes unpunished. Once someone posts a negative story about you and it is shared hundreds of times, who do you go after? How do you stop it? Or counterbalance? Or correct falsehoods? And we wonder why teen suicide rate has skyrocketed?

  22. 2:57 Nice enough or did they manipulate the fuck out of you!!!! They just gave you three months to shut you up!!! People will show you what they want you to see but that doesn’t mean that they’re sincerely going to let you see the reality!!! Manipulation at its finest!!

  23. to me it sounds like this guy objects to freedom of expression on Facebook, and calls for censorship (8:10 he wants "firewalls").

    the problems i have with facebook/google/etc. is that they undermine people's privacy and that they steal our data to advertise to us, not because there is too much freedom on their platforms..

    what i hate too is that they rely too much on their algorithms to impose settings on us, instead of letting us pick our own settings. (for example here on youtube, they don't allow us to pick default video quality settings, whenever i log on i have to change it manually, or i can't disable the video suggestions on the right, which i find annoying because i generally watch what i have in my sub feed only)

    youtube also doesn't notify us when we are banned on a certain channel. to us it looks like we're posting the comment, but it doesn't appear in the comment section of other users. not just is there no notification, but there is also no information on why it happened and no appeal mechanism (and yes, i have been banned on a channel before, so i experienced that first hand xD)

  24. They knew it was all bullshit. they knew that it WAS propaganda and it wasn't coming from Russia. And the fact that you were starting to wise up made you a target.

  25. Russia, Russia, Russia – people are "bots" or "trolls" if they expose the truth – the record. No ads in campaigns is the key – politicians run on their record and their ideas without corporate bribes – that is how America works right. Voting by mail with post office district lines and tallying stations after mandated debates on public airwaves that are free by law. Public financing of campaigns for travel and rally expenses. Then the politicians are given housing in D.C. so their salaries are sufficient to live in two places without corporate bribes, then they MUST travel home every other week to hold town halls to see how the constituents feel on issues so they cast appropriate votes in D.C.

  26. First mentions hate groups from Bernie Sanders???? Black lives matter????? And the debunked Russia gate conspiracy…. Never mentions actually hate groups from Nazis White nationalists and I hate groups created by cops, interesting .. this is a shame…

  27. Great inside take. However…love these corporatists who, after a lifetime of making money in questionable activities, decide to venture into activism, AFTER they've made their millions.

  28. Amy it was nice to hear an interview by someone disillusioned supporting FB. however I hope you from now on think twice about bringing on someone who's going to spew propaganda about Russian interference & russiagate.

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