Hey remember when everybody hated Facebook since it trashed their privacy? That was all of three weeks ago. Remember THAT? No? Apparently folks don’t. Nobody cares anymore. Facebook understands that the planet’s attention span (largely because of the internet) is about eight seconds. So Zucky had to keep his cool, talk like a robot, play it safe, and eventually it would all blow over.
It certainly helped that all the rich, self-inflated, but ultimately dumb people in Congress couldn’t tell the difference between a Facebook algorithm and a ham sandwich. These are the guys and gals with the power to regulate Facebook so it doesn’t sell your personal data to a KGB backed hedge fund or a bunch of alien overlords who will one day enslave you using Zucky as the turncoat Emperor of all Humanity.
But Zucky banked that Congress is so gridlocked, and so incompetent that he could ride it out. All he had to do in front of Congress was not stand up, give them all the finger, both barrels, and say, “Fuck you all. I might be the most powerful man on the planet. Do your worst. Foools.” But since he didn’t do that, Facebook continues to win.
After Congress let Zucky handle them like a seven figure donor, coincidentally Facebook’s stock went up north of 5%. That means Zucky’s performance over a two day span increased his personal net worth by over $3B. Never has one human in all of history made so much money so quickly by saying so little to people so incredibly dumb and ineffective at their jobs. It’s the perfect harbinger for where the planet is headed.
It gets better because of a number of tidbits that STILL inexplicably came out during Zucky’s testimony. It goes to show you how easy it would have been for competent questioners to hand Zucky his ass. The guy just doesn’t know how to deal with people getting in his face. It’s why he (I’m not kidding) walks around with a personal security detail close in number to that of the President.
First, whoever you are, Facebook has a profile on you. Whether you have a Facebook account or not, Facebook has a profile on you and is tracking you. They do this in case one day you create an account they already have a head start. But they really do this so they can connect you into the network of networks which involves your friends, family, coworkers, etc, most of whom have Facebook accounts.
The network of networks is what Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc will need to truly let the future AI algorithms do their magic. The idea is that the AI knows what you want for breakfast before you know what you want for breakfast. I’m not joking. It’ll be the digital voice assistant which is the ultimate end game to engage with you on this. Whoever can get to you first, gets your money and loyalty. That’s why the arms race of AI is so hotly contested. As is the race to get ever more amounts of your personal data into one bag.
Second, Zucky emphasized that he sees Facebook as an international company and not an American company. He essentially punted on the “only in America” idea when directly asked about it. As in, Zucky doesn’t believe in the idea that the freedom, entrepreneurial spirit, and rule of law that Facebook was afforded by America makes Facebook an American company. If he’d been born in China or Egypt or Poland he seems to think Facebook would still exist. This is kind of a shocking statement from a guy who runs a company that is (in theory) bound by American law. Especially for a guy who is said to harbor political ambitions.
Third, Zucky also refused to answer Congress on whether or not Facebook tracks its users when the user is not physically logged in. Zucky said he didn’t know. Which was of course a blatant, shameless lie. Facebook tracks its users when they’re not logged in. Similar to how Google tracks its users credit card purchases via a backdoor agreement with many national retailers.
Again, Facebook needs their user’s offline activity tracked because it further feeds the AI networks. But since Congress doesn’t understand any of this, and can’t do basic tasks like pass a budget on time, don’t expect things to change. Facebook will continue to win.
I think folks are waking up to this, that Facebook can’t be stopped. And in one of the first dominoes to fall is the resignation of Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp and for the last four years an employee of Facebook. Koum has battled with Facebook’s leadership for years over monetization, ads, WhatsApp’s privacy and encryption, you name it. He’s leaving now. And most of those who see things his way will undoubtedly follow. Then Facebook can finally have its way with WhatsApp.
So if you use WhatsApp (as I unfortunately have to do at the moment overseas; I’ll be deleting it one day after I get home) be prepared for some major changes as the program becomes more invasive, less secure, gets ads, and otherwise further links itself into the Facebook hive. But it’s okay, because in the end it isn’t about you, it’s about the people who will further own your life.
Take Koum for example, he might have lost the battle with Facebook, but in terms of winning the war of life? He has won. Quote:
“In his Facebook post, Koum said he would take some time off from technology to focus on other pursuits, “such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee.””
There are serious, long term concerns to the future of humanity with regards to what the internet is going to do to us all. But to Silicon Valley, in the end, it’s about success. As in, money. To Koum, he might genuinely share the same concerns I do about these matters. But in the end, to Koum, it’s all about those air-cooled Porsches baby!