Mark Zuckerberg published a 6,500 word manifesto on his Facebook Page yesterday. Coming from one of the most influential people in the world, it is worth reading. For those of you who do not have the patience, I will paraphrase:
“Things have gotten out of control: Fakes news, polarization, terrorism, hate speech, cyberbullying, shaming, etc. We didn’t really plan it that way. We were just playing around, having lots of fun and making lots of money and the next thing you know, Kaboom, the world is a total mess. I don’t really feel good about that, so we are going to try and make the world a better place by connecting everything. Hopefully, we can create a utopia and everyone will feel better.”
Mark Zuckerberg is way out of his league. He lacks the leadership qualities and moral fiber necessary to wield the tremendous power that Facebook has amassed. A true leader takes responsibility for his actions. Zuckerberg did not do so is his letter. A true leader speaks loudly and clearly about good and evil; right and wrong. Zuckerberg just wants us all to feel good.
There is no reason to believe that the strategy outlined in Zuckerberg’s letter – connecting everything through Facebook’s network, increasing their involvement in our lives, and strengthening their sphere of influence – will somehow solve the problems that they have created. Facebook and the other folks in Silicon Valley have consistently proven that they are more concerned about the bottom line than the greater good. They talk big about building a perfect and healthy world, while closing their eyes to the spread of evil; generating billions of dollars in profits from the traffic generated by cyberbullying, fake news, hate speech and terrorism.
There is too much at stake to let Mark Zuckerberg try and work things out for us. The time has come for governments to intervene in this dangerous experiment that Facebook is playing with our lives.