US Court Filing: Zuckerberg Testimony Undermines Facebook Stance in Terrorism Case

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

The bigger ideological problem with the Facebook circus is that our politicians are acting as if being subjected to an opinion - or an ad - they dislike is some kind of attack on an individual's rights. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back".

The hearings generated much heat but little light, as was predicted by Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina and one of the keenest observers of Facebook and our evolving digital landscape.

Subscription companies were once an anomaly on the internet, where the prevailing wisdom was that information trended toward free. These companies - and many others - also offer advertising services. I will only read "newspapers" like the Daily Mail if I've heard of a particularly ridiculous or incorrect story and then share my disapproval with others who generally agree with me. For example, users can opt out of ads or delete their profiles.

A number of panics have brought us to this preposterous place: the idea that Russian trolls on Facebook could swing the 2016 election and undermine our "democracy"; the idea that Facebook's leftward bias is so corrosive that we should regulate it like a utility; and, finally, the general way in which social media tends to reveal the ugly side of human nature - which is indeed scary but has little to do with any particular platform.

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That's because the core function of Facebook - connecting people - is something that can be done elsewhere without having to pay.

"The social media giant has always been deeply involved in editing and manipulating the content on its platform, and has had the technology to block the incitement of terrorism as the plaintiffs in our cases contend". Simply got to the Settings menu and select Privacy options.

"This is the largest amount I've seen in the five years I've been looking at the Fortune 100 studies", said Dan Marcec, Equilar's director of content and communications, of Zuckerberg's 2018 figure. "I'm on the older side of Millennial and even I don't particularly care whether someone has my data".

There can often be a disconnect between the behaviours consumers aspire toward - say taking extra steps to protect their privacy - and what they actually do. "Do I love the product?" he said.

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Zuckerberg's cross-country quasi-stumping tour is one likely component of the increased costs, as the Silicon Valley bigwig tried to cultivate goodwill in parts of the country not usually visited by tech executives. "You're not going to make a dent in that". At first, Zuckerberg repeated assurances already offered during his Senate testimony such as Facebook's general promise to extend GDPR required controls to US users.

"Senator, a number of people suggest that we should offer a version where people can not have ads if they pay a monthly subscription", Zuckerberg responded, "and certainly we consider ideas like that". Given Facebook's undisputed position as a global behemoth - with an estimated market value of $479 billion as of April 10 and over 2.2 billion active users world-wide - it is a very different company from the small website Zuckerberg founded in his Harvard dorm room, to which he frequently referred during his Congressional testimony.

Courts have struggled over what qualifies as an injury to pursue a privacy case in lawsuits accusing Facebook and Google of siphoning users' personal information from emails and monitoring their web-browsing habits.

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