Mark Zuckerberg: The Facebook Fiasco

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is testifying in front of Congress yet again. This time, he’s defending a new cryptocurrency called Libra. The idea behind Libra is that people all over the world could exchange money with our bank accounts affordably and “safely”. Critics argue that the anonymity is a dangerous threat to national security and cryptocurrency have infamously been used by shady people in illicit deals. 

Additionally, big name players like Pay Play, Visa, and MasterCard have rescinded their partnership in the Libra Association. Nonetheless, Zuckerberg continues to argue that Facebook users are in charge of their own privacy and our information is safe (despite obvious evidence otherwise) and promises the same for his new pet project, Libra. 

Zuckerberg has been intensely questioned by Senators like Maxine Waters, the notorious AOC, and new congresswoman Katie Porter, who unabashedly roasted his haircut. Question topics ranged from child pornography to disinformation to employee wellbeing. Despite Senators only having 5 minutes each to question Zuckerberg, he was grilled for 5 hours! His arguments were less than satisfying. He spent a lot of time deflecting and was apparently ignorant about major functions of his company (or flat out lying).

Facebook has been accused of political censoring and allowing (and encouraging) hate speech on their website. The site has also been known to propagate disinformation and been lazy in their exploitive and child-probing checking efforts, to which Zuckerberg maintained that Facebook “[works] harder than any other company to identify these behaviors”. Additionally, Zuckerberg took heat for the lack of diversity and inclusion in his company. 

He also floundered when asked about content moderation on his website. Facebook hires people to essentially censor the videos that show stabbings, murders, suicides, and other gruesome content shared on the website. Apparently, these people are paid $9 an hour and get a 9-minute supervised wellness break to “cry in a staircase with someone watching them” every shift. 

Many of these people develop PTSD and Facebook has allegedly cut off their mental health benefits so these people can’t even receive help for the trauma they experience through their jobs at Facebook. When asked if he was willing to do a shift in content moderation every day for a year, he couldn’t answer and said, “I'm not sure that it would best serve the community to spend that much time… but I spend a lot of time looking at content” (probably hiding his unwillingness to do the job). 

Is your data safe with Facebook? Maybe if you’re a Russian hacker paid to influence gullible Americans by feeding them misinformation during major elections.

Is Facebook watching you? Not exactly. They track your IP address, so they know where you’re accessing your account from. They also track your recent searches, so they can target the advertisements you see. The great hypocrisy here is that Mark Zuckerberg essentially refuses to share his own information saying that he was “uncomfortable” with sharing the name of the hotel while in DC when asked by a senator. 

What’s important to remember about any place on the Internet is that pretty much anyone can access your information. There’s also basically always someone willing to use and/or sell your information. In terms of Facebook specifically, it should be noted that the company owns WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus VR, and LiveRail, which easily could make Facebook a predatory monopolistic powerhouse. They also have at least 60 lobbyists. Bottom line here: be wary of Facebook.