Poor Mark Zuckerberg. In his Harvard undergraduate days when he built the first crude version of what would become a globe-encompassing social-media behemoth, he only wanted a tool to rate the hotness of girls on campus. He did not intend to destroy democracy.
Zuckerberg still clings to the vision of Facebook as a happy place where people can have conversations, share the highlights of their lives and make new friends. He resists scrutinizing the dark side – the rapid dissemination of lies and paranoid conspiracy theories and the vicious trolling and character assassination – that has been hugely magnified by the sheer vastness of the Facebook community.
Zuckerberg does not want the federal government to put limits on his power, yet he is earning the ire of many political leaders by refusing to check the veracity of political advertising in the same way broadcast and print media do. He imagines he’s a champion of free speech, but, if he cannot see that free speech is endangered when a flood of lies is allowed to swamp public discourse, then he may deserve to have his empire cut down to size.
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