Ben Boyle

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Mark Zuckerberg Owns Boomer Senators, Like and Share!

5 Dec 2018

Not too long ago, I saw this video being shared on Facebook and published to many other popular social media platforms with general positive support and reaction.

There is a major reason as to why the blind sharing of this video is an issue in my mind:

All of the Congress members’ questions are relevant and important, yet they are being mocked for asking them.

To sum up the questions the Congress members Zuckerberg with some paraphrasing:

All of these questions are relevant and important questions for Facebook users to know the answers to, American citizens or not.

This video’s title and equally patronizing music shoot down the concerns of the Congress members by mocking them; primarily because they aren’t very up-to-date with the jargon of the subject (e.g. a Congress member described messaging in WhatsApp as “e-mailing”).

Zuckerberg tip-toes around answering these questions or outright deny any allegations, like most of his responses during his questioning, while many tech-savvy people speculate that the answer to all of the above allegations may be yes.

Because sites like Facebook and Google rely on advertising as their primary source of revenue, they are faced with the challenge of adding value to online advertising which has been, for most of the history of the internet, pretty worthless. Being able to target specific demographics to advertise to is where the money is, and data harvesting + user profiling is the way to do it.

Advertisers on these platforms are provided with many options from simple geolocation targeting, to providing profiles of the types of people or interests they want to advertise to. All of this data is coming from somewhere and being heavily processed. Zuckerberg seems very nervous and not interested in disclosing how that process is actually executed in detail.

And instead of scrutinizing and further probing his responses, “Let’s poke fun at these older people because they don’t know the difference between E-mail and instant-messaging!”

Obviously, it is a good idea to make sure that legislators understand what they are attempting to legislate. But from my perspective, all of the questions in this video are valuable to have answered in the context of legislating Facebook and protecting user privacy on the internet.

Videos like this that propagate all kinds of malformed assumptions and misinformation are common on all social media platforms, and I believe that it is important to point them out and challenge the often blind reaction and acceptance of the misinformation they spread.

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