Friday, October 18, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown Acted Like a Caged Animal

Mark Zuckerberg 
By Robert Wenzel

Reading from presidential-style prompters, Mark Zuckerberg delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

It was obvious by the end of his speech that the reason for the speech was to ward off attacks from Elizabeth Warren who has been calling on him to block certain Donald Trump ads where she says he lied about her.

"The Trump campaign is currently spending $1 million a *week* on ads including ones containing known lies — ads that TV stations refuse to air because they’re false," Warren has tweeted. "Facebook just takes the cash, no questions asked."

"Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once through negligence," she continued. "Now, they've changed their policy so they can profit from lies to the American people. It's time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable."

Zuckerberg's response was to act like a caged animal.

Wrapping himself as a supporter of free expression during the speech, he proceeded to tell the audience the many ways he blocks free speech because it could go too far.

"Inevitably some people will use their voice to organize violence, undermine elections or hurt others, and we have a responsibility to address these risks," he said.

Then he gave a strange example:
For misinformation, we focus on making sure complete hoaxes don’t go viral. We especially focus on misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm, like misleading health advice saying if you’re having a stroke, no need to go to the hospital.
But who the hell is Zuckerberg to determine what is misinformation?  At one time, saying that the earth was not flat, or that the sun didn't revolve around the earth, would have been considered misinformation.

Hell, more recently, if you decided to challenge the old food pyramid and its emphasis on carbohydrates, it would have been considered misinformation.

In other words, what Zuckerberg said is that he will not allow anything beyond conventional opinion---with one exception. He will allow politicians to lie to you:
We don’t fact-check political ads. We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying. And if content is newsworthy, we also won’t take it down even if it would otherwise conflict with many of our standards.
I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy. 
What a clown! He is going to allow the biggest liars on the planet to say anything but everyone else is going to be subject to a truth panel:
[W]e’re establishing an independent Oversight Board for people to appeal our content decisions. The board will have the power to make final binding decisions about whether content stays up or comes down on our services — decisions that our team and I can’t overturn. We’re going to appoint members to this board who have a diversity of views and backgrounds, but who each hold free expression as their paramount value.
A panel that holds free expression paramount but gets to decide what gets removed?

Zuckerberg knows how stifling conventional wisdom can be when it comes to free speech, he said so in his speech:
We saw this when Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous letter from Birmingham Jail, where he was unconstitutionally jailed for protesting peacefully. We saw this in the efforts to shut down campus protests against the Vietnam War. We saw this way back when America was deeply polarized about its role in World War I, and the Supreme Court ruled that socialist leader Eugene Debs could be imprisoned for making an anti-war speech.
Yet, he is going to create the truth panel. I tell you again, he knows better:
In times of social turmoil, our impulse is often to pull back on free expression. We want the progress that comes from free expression, but not the tension...We can continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us. Or we can decide the cost is simply too great. I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression...
Increasingly, we’re seeing people try to define more speech as dangerous because it may lead to political outcomes they see as unacceptable. Some hold the view that since the stakes are so high, they can no longer trust their fellow citizens with the power to communicate and decide what to believe for themselves.
I personally believe this is more dangerous for democracy over the long term than almost any speech.

And it doesn't stop there, the Facebook tracking of individuals has begun. In his speech, he said:
We now require you to provide a government ID and prove your location if you want to run political ads or a large page. You can still say controversial things, but you have to stand behind them with your real identity and face accountability.
 A large page? What the hell is that?

And does Zuckerberg think that providing a government ID is going to stop a determined foreign national from buying ads?

He said:
 Much of the content the Russian accounts shared was distasteful but would have been considered permissible political discourse if it were shared by Americans — the real issue was that it was posted by fake accounts coordinating together and pretending to be someone else. 
Is he really that dumb? In a country with a population of 330 million, does he really think it would be that difficult to find an American frontman?

In reality, the ID requirement does nothing but track legitimate Americans.

I have to give Zuckerberg's PR team credit, they are slick, packaging Zuckerberg's freedom takeaways as a fight for freedom of expression, when Zuckerberg really doesn't have the balls to tell all those putting censorship pressure on him to go to hell and that he has an open platform.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. Epistemological Authoritarianism is a mental disorder.

  2. This is just more of Zuckerberg being a tool of the powers that should not be. The rules for politicians are different from the rule us plebs must follow. Not only are (federal) politicians exempt from Obummer Care, they are exempt from telling the truth (unless of course they twist it).