Ironically for the CEO of a company infamous for its role in destroying the barrier between private and public life, Mark Zuckerberg’s private and public personalities seem very different.
In public, Zuckerberg is all humility. Mark Zuckerberg: “I’m Really Sorry That This Happened” could be any headline about a Facebook data scandal in the past two years. His 2018 speech to European politicians was an apology. His remarks before Congress were an apology. After the Cambridge Analytica affair, Facebook took out full-page newspaper ads in ten newspapers, apologizing.
In private, however, the Facebook CEO sings a different tune, promising defiance against regulators and politicians, and joking about how he can’t be fired.
That doesn’t mean that, even if there’s anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge….at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.
He said it was particularly important that Facebook and other big tech companies aren’t broken up, because only they’re big enough to censor everyone — or stop “hate speech,” in the Facebook founder’s words.
You know, [breaking up big tech] doesn’t make election interference less likely. It makes it more likely because now the companies can’t coordinate and work together. It doesn’t make any of the hate speech or issues like that less likely. It makes it more likely because now … all the processes that we’re putting in place and investing in, now we’re more fragmented. [emphasis added]
He also mocked Twitter for not being big enough to censor as efficiently as Facebook.
It’s why Twitter can’t do as good of a job as we can. I mean, they face, qualitatively, the same types of issues. But they can’t put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company. [laughter]
Zuckerberg’s answer to global scrutiny from national governments? Just ignore them, if they’re not big enough to matter! (Fun fact, Facebook has revenues greater than the GDP of Serbia, and would be the 90th-wealthiest country in the world if it were a country).
I did hearings in the US. I did hearings in the EU. It just doesn’t really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up and, frankly, doesn’t have jurisdiction to demand that.
Does the arrogance and the commitment to massive investments to fight “hate speech” concern you? Too bad — Zuckerberg isn’t going anywhere:
kind of have voting control of the company, and that’s something I focused on early on. And it was important because, without that, there were several points where I would’ve been fired. For sure, for sure…
In the early days of Facebook, reporters obtained a now-infamous message from Zuckerberg in which he mocked the platform’s users as “dumb f**cks” for trusting him with their personal data.
Insincere contrition in public, and cavalier arrogance in private. Not much has changed!
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.