Facebook has gotten too big, too powerful, too influential for Mark Zuckerberg to handle

“Mark Zuckerberg is not comfortable with the enormous influence he has over the world,” Seth Fiegerman writes for CNNMoney. “During his apology tour this week for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Zuckerberg lent support to the idea of regulating Facebook and admitted he’d rather not be the person making content policy decisions for the world. But he pushed back on one thing: Facebook’s immense power. When CNN’s Laurie Segall asked if Facebook had become ‘”too powerful,’ Zuckerberg responded: ‘I don’t think so.’ Zuckerberg argued that history shows any list of ‘the biggest [companies] in any given industry’ will inevitably change ‘ten years later, or ten years after that.'”

“And yet, at this moment, Facebook isn’t just on the list, but nearly unrivaled in its dominance. It has billions of users and tremendous influence over the media and advertising industries. It also has no obvious direct competitor who can take it down thanks to years of acquiring and cloning newer social media companies,” Fiegerman writes. “‘It influences how more than 2 billion around the world people see, think, and feel. I can’t think of an institution that has close to that power, with the possible exception of Google,’ says Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia and author of a forthcoming book on Facebook’s impact on democracy. ‘For Mark Zuckerberg to deny that,’ he added, ‘is insulting.'”

“‘Any company that can influence a US presidential election without being aware that it is doing so is demonstrably too powerful,’ Roger McNamee, Zuckerberg’s former mentor and a venture capitalist, told CNN by email,” Fiegerman writes. “Zuckerberg may play down how powerful Facebook is, but his interviews this week highlight his clear discomfort with the responsibility he now has, not just to make products, but to make policies with global impact. ‘I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world,’ Zuckerberg told Re/code. ‘[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that? I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Two monopolies, at least, have become too powerful: Facebook and Google. The U.S. has remedies available to it. The country just needs to find the backbone to utilize them.

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  1. I think that’s giving facebook too much credit. No, conversely, we have gotten too insipid, too vacuous, too hooked on quick gratification and imaginary validation, too lazy, and far too addicted to our own level of comfort. There would be no facebook without *us*, we are to blame, as are the young people we ourselves raised. We made this mess, no one else.

      1. Listen, Dingleberry artist … I clean things off my PAWS that have more character than you. James is correct. Have some chocolate and a soft cookie.

  2. Facebook was too big for Zuckerberg when he stole the idea from the Winklevoss twins. He literally has no clue what he’s doing, or been doing. But it’s his mess now.

    1. Not that clean a theft. Let me give you an example….
      “I want to invent a time transporter!”
      If someone actually does it, is it mine? The extent of the theft is the extent of my contribution. The Winklevii were ultimately compensated millions for doing very little.

      1. Either way, he was duplicitous at the very least. Now, he’s trying to weasel out of this. You can’t always have it both ways no matter how much you think you should for your own success and survival.

        He’s reaping what he sowed.

  3. Oh, poor Zuck. His comment is simply PR intent to make himself out to be a victim so that people can feel sorry for his predicament and leave him alone or else to lessen punishing him.

  4. In an hour-long interview with Letterman (new Netflix show), Obama said something that fairly clearly describes today’s problem. What everyone initially believed would become liberating technology, allowing the news (and truth) to spread freely, unencumbered by governments, special interests, state-controlled media, etc. Yet, the result is these information bubbles that rarely really have anything to do with truth. When we can control how news comes our way, we select to only get the news we like hearing. As soon as we do this, all these algorithms then sort and filter information for most effective result (engagement, comments, time spent reading), in order to maximise ad revenue. When three different people google “Egypt spring”, liberals get “Tahrir Square”; conservatives get “Muslim Brotherhood”, and center gets “Nile cruises”. Obviously, this is an extremely simplified example, but he did have a point. Not only do we actively select the type of news we want to hear, but even the search, which we would expect to be giving us most accurate results, will be filtered and biased in accordance with our own biases.

    The system is obviously showing unintended consequences.

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