Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg appears on CNN AC360 and offers to testify before Congress, accept more regulation

Mark Zuckerberg reappeared and was interviewed by CNN’s Laurie Segall on AC360 tonight from Facebook’s headquarters.
Here is the CNN link

The interview as conducted in two parts. Zuckerberg said he favored federal regulation of Internet ads similar to what is done for TV, inasmuch as those who paid for ads should be made public and transparent.'

Theoretically, similar regulation of content itself could follow (as we know from the scurry on 2005 over McCain-Feingdol).

Most CNN commentators gave Zuckerberg for at least starting the conversation.

Zuckerberg said he would be willing to testify before Congress. He admitted that bad actors were likely to be trying to swing the 2018 midterm elections but that Facebook had a handle on it.

He also said that when he invented Facebook in his dorm room in February 2004, he had no idea that he could manipulate elections, wars, and international propaganda in fourteen years -- primarily because the "masses" don't have the cognitive ability to recognize tribalistic fallacies.  Zuckerberg would have been aware of my own site (doaskdotell) on gays in the military when a freshman in 2003, because it became a major controversy at Harvard and my site at the time got lots of hits all the time because of its unusual setup.  I had "reach" then, which is not quite the same as "influence" but leads to it. 

Internet companies will face real problems in the sustainability of their business models. Facebook, the product was the “user” and this seems no longer as acceptable, so it puts free user-generated content at risk at a conceptual level, as being gratuitous or of nuisance value if others don’t pay for it. That's why this about more than just who pays for the ads. Who pays for the news stories if they "divide people" and inspire crime (like Comet Ping Pong). 

The idea that Facebook is a neutral platform is a hostile foreign power can target it with fake accounts to overwhelm a certain less literate and propaganda-susceptible "peoples". 

Today Congress passed the "Backpage bill" that would erode CDA Section 230 protections; this is distantly related to Facebook's problems and could complicate things. 

On PBS, Frontline offered a disturbing interview with a former Facebook executive. 

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