Fake Federal Facebook Fury Finally Finished
By Duane Thresher, Ph.D. April 16, 2018
Last week the much-hyped testimony by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's supposed creator, in front of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Senate Judiciary Committee finally finished. It was supposed to be a grilling by a furious Senate on Facebook's selling of its user data to outside unscrupulous companies, as well as other Facebook violations, like political censorship, but was more of a softball questioning publicity stunt. That it was a publicity stunt was further confirmed by the redundant anticlimactic "me too" questioning by the House a day later, which I thus don't cover here.
I tweeted last week -- see them at bottom -- making some important points, which is what Twitter is good for, but after the testimony and some careful thought is the time to write an article like this one.
Some have pointed out the political donations that many senators have taken from Zuckerberg/Facebook to show that their Facebook fury was fake. But if you know you are going to get the donation no matter what -- companies give to both parties to cover all their bases -- then you don't really have to do anything or feel obligated to the donor for the donation.
Far more important is the free far-reaching political advertising available on Facebook. We have compiled a U.S. Senators Facebook Accounts table with the Facebook accounts of every member of the Senate and their number of followers. Some of the accounts have over a million followers. Reaching this many people at any time for free by just sitting is unheard of in history. Before Facebook, politicians had to actually get out and talk to the people, which kept them in touch. Now Facebook is part of government's and business's plan to make it so you can only talk to computers, not humans.
(Looking at the number of followers in the U.S. Senators Facebook Accounts table it is understandable why during the testimony Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was particularly concerned about liberal Facebook censorship and why Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont was not.)
If the Senate was really furious with Zuckerberg/Facebook they would have simply deleted their accounts in protest and advised their constituents to do the same. But senators are not going to give up that free far-reaching advertising easily, which is understandable from a business point of view. The Senate is actually frightened to death of not being able to use Facebook.
Although I too appreciate free far-reaching advertising, I don't have a Facebook account in my name and never did. I always knew Mark Zuckerberg was an IT incompetent slimeball (having a baby face does not make him innocent) and could not and would not protect user data, which often includes photos, names, and addresses of children; perfect for pedophiles and child abductors. (Plus as Facebook's direct precursor, Zuckerberg himself created Facemash, which was a security-breaching privacy-violating hack to sexually harass women by allowing a vote on which of two unsuspecting coeds was hotter.)
How did I compile the U.S. Senators Facebook Accounts table if I don't have a Facebook account in my name? With my fake Facebook account of course. As Zuckerberg has admitted, many Facebook accounts are fake. The large number of fake Facebook accounts should very much dilute the value of a Facebook follower but users seem oblivious to this.
During the testimony some senators questioned Zuckerberg about liberal censorship on Facebook. As much as I hate political censorship, the fact is the First Amendment only applies to government censorship, not private entities, which can legally censor all they want. If Zuckerberg had actually finished college he might have known this and just stated it flatly right at the beginning, cutting off further questions on the subject. Zuckerberg/Facebook can censor Congress but Congress can't censor Zuckerberg/Facebook. Most senators, being lawyers, know this perfectly well.
(Similarly, the First Amendment does not apply to kneeling during the national anthem during sports events. The non-government team owners could legally stop this if they wanted to.)
During the testimony some senators talked about breaking up Facebook as a monopoly. Facebook is not a monopoly. Twitter for example very successfully and directly competes with it: Facebook post = Twitter tweet. It's also not a vital service like oil or railroad or telephone, or any other monopoly that was successfully trust busted. Everyone could do without Facebook ... and should. Most senators, being lawyers, know this perfectly well.
There are terrorist victims who have sued Facebook for aiding and abetting terrorists, via providing a communications network and publicity. Mary Surratt was hanged just for providing lodging to John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin. And Zuckerberg/Facebook have shown themselves eager to censor political speech but reluctant to censor terrorists.
These are important lawsuits that could be won and help protect the American people. That's what the Senate should have been grilling Zuckerberg about. Most senators, being lawyers, know this perfectly well.
No matter now. The fake federal Facebook fury is finally finished.