STEVEN E. WHITE
Mark Zuckerberg stood before the US senate at 2:30 mountain standard time, on April 10, and April 11, and testified under a heavy fire of accusations regarding Facebook and its misuse of information and power. Among the accusations were a misuse of the personal information of its users, a lack of transparency, an obvious bias in political censorship, and an obstruction of the consumers’ free speech.
Mark Zuckerberg is the creator of Facebook, which is a social media giant, which, at the end of June 2017, had an active 1 billion daily users. Those from the ages 18-29 are the most prevalent Facebook users. When suggested that Facebook is a monopoly, Mark responded by saying “It doesn’t seem that way to me,” despite no other social media site coming close to the same statistics in viewership. Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users, and the next closest one is Youtube, with 1.5 billion. After that it’s WeChat with 889 million.
Zuckerberg was apologetic, yet not meaningfully it seemed. Many people on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube compared his demeanor to that of a robot. Even though he played the apologetic, responsible card at some parts, he is still seen by those in silicon valley as a ruthless businessman. To many others, he seemed like a typical politician, not answering questions straight on, but side-stepping them.
“How does Facebook objectively what is acceptable news, and what safeguards exist to ensure that religious and conservative content is treated fairly?”
“Do you subjectively or manipulate your algorithms to prioritize or censor speech?”
“Why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as diamond and silk? Facebook called them unsafe to the community…. That is ludicrous.”
Mark simply answered these questions with various statements of, “I will talk to my team about that, and get back to you with the details.” He said this line or a tweaked version of it, almost twenty times during the first day of his hearing.
Representative David B McKinley spoke boldly, “Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law, and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription. With all do respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity, and in so-doing, you are hurting people. Would you agree with that statement?” Mark sidestepped the question, like a politician, “Congressman I think there are a number of content that we need to do a better job of policing on our service.”
Ben Ray Lujan asked a simple question, “Facebook has detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook, yes or no?” Zuck side-swiping the question, responded, “Congressman, in general we collect data from people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes to prevent….scraping.” That is a yes. Congress also tore into him about Facebook contracted with companies who listen in on our phone calls, to which he denied all affiliation.
Facebook clearly silences right leaning politics, as God Emperor Trump was unpublished recently, without reason. Diamond and silk were marked as dangerous, in an attempt to take them down. Our very own Harry Goldsmith, the CFO of Goldfire Media, has had his account deleted without reason more than five times now. Many conservatives are banned from posting, constantly, for 30 days at a time, because of a meme or article they shared.