Former House Speaker and Republican, Newt Gingrich is calling for regulation of social media saying it should be treated like a public utility.
Democrats are favoring censorship of our social media posts because they believe Americans are incapable of telling the difference between content posted by their friends from fake content posted by bots, paid advertisers, and foreign governments.
Now, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appears to agree.
Zuckerberg has just earned a Wingnuts Award for making statements like, “The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world. That’s why we’ve built teams dedicated to working on election integrity and preventing governments from interfering in the elections of other nations. And as we’ve shared before, our teams have found and shut down thousands of fake accounts that could be attempting to influence elections in many countries, including recently in the French elections.” And this, “We are actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference. We have been investigating this for many months…”
You can view Zuckerberg’s full statement here as it was posted on Time: http://time.com/4952391/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-russia-meddling-congress/
Zuckerberg is effectively suggesting that social media has become so important and powerful that viewers – and voters – have lost their ability to tell what’s real. Social media users are now so easily influenced that they’ll believe anything posted by anyone, parrot the content, and make real life decisions based on things they have viewed. Zuckerberg originally gave Facebook credit for energizing the “Arab Spring” in the middle east and then backed off from his stance once that movement turned into ethnic cleansing and civil war in places like Egypt and Syria. When he took Facebook’s stock public in 2012 he told investors, “Facebook hopes to change how people relate to their governments and social institutions.”
Zuckerberg, get over yourself.
Facebook is a toy. Its news value is akin to popular tabloids at best, except that the writing quality is sub-par complete with bad grammar, profanity, and name calling.
In terms of the recent presidential election, it’s interesting that Zuckerberg claimed, “nearly 500 accounts likely originating in Russia bought $100,000 worth of Facebook ads during the election,” while Hillary spent “tens of millions.” The $100,000 invested by Russian organizations to allegedly influence the election is practically zero in the Facebook world as they billed more than $9 Billion for advertising in the most recent quarter (aka: 90 days; aka: $100 Million per day). If Zuckerberg’s claim is true then Russia’s total election investment represented 0.001% of the amount Facebook receives from advertisers every single quarter. Russia’s campaign spending was also just 0.01% of the $1.2 billion Hillary spent trying to get elected. You can find highlights of Facebook’s quarterly report here https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/26/facebook-earnings-q2-2017.html and Hillary’s billion dollar campaign summary here https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/
It’s really cute to think that Facebook is designed just for you to keep in touch with family and friends, or that it’s a forum to help like-minded individuals connect, or that Zuckerberg, whose net worth has topped $4 Billion is all about supporting a progressive liberal agenda, but it’s just not true. The only value Facebook users offer is their ad clicks. If Facebook users stopped clicking on paid ads, Facebook would cease to exist. They now have AI machines that read all your posts so they can sell your data and match users, topics, and ads to your conversations.
Now to close the loop on Gingrich’s comments, he may have a point. There have been several times in the past few years when people have called 911 to report Facebook outages, including this example reported in the Los Angeles Times in 2014 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-911-calls-about-facebook-outage-angers-la-sheriffs-officials-20140801-htmlstory.html
Should Facebook access be deemed a basic human right? Wingnuts would like to hear your opinion – but not on social media. Please use that platform to keep in touch with loved ones instead. Oh — and be sure to click an ad. Zuckerberg needs the money.