Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg in 2017 vs. 2022, censoring and government influence

Life is a gamble. You decide to take advantage of Everygame casino no deposit bonus and gamble money.  Maybe you win.  Maybe you win big.  Or maybe you lose.  Or maybe you lose big.  If you do not play at all, you do not win and you do not lose.

Life in business is the same way … unless you view running a business as war and you follow the philosophy of “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu … but that is another story.

Gambling and business, Facebook’s big gamble in 2017, did it pay off, or did Facebook lose?

In February 2017, Maximum PC published an article titled “Facebook Colludes in State Censorship: Just how far will the social media company go to break into new markets?

In 2017, China’s population was 1.386 billion.  Around 80% is the population 13 and over.  That would be 1,108,800,000 people.  Facebook considers 65% of the adult population, as market penetration.  That would be 720,720,000.  To put it in perspective, only 20% of that number….158 million adults voted in the 2020 election (including votes for Biden, votes for Trump, and votes for other candidates, including Mickey Mouse).

So that is a lot of people, which equals a lot of money.  When people see that many dollar signs, they do not act too intelligently.

In 2017, a whistleblower from inside Google admitted that Google was developing tools that would allow third parties to monitor feeds and decide what can go live and what cannot go live.

Back in 2017, Facebook had refused to confirm or deny this, but as we know in 2022, that did in fact happen.  Those tools were developed.

Organizations like “Electronic Frontier Foundation” warned that the project was “extremely disturbing.”

In China, censorship is not optional.  In the USA in 2017, this was unheard of.  The US was built upon the concept of “Freedom of Speech”, even when the speech is hateful speech.  For example, in 1977 (40 years earlier), the Nazis wanted to demonstrate in Skokie, IL (wearing Nazi uniforms, saying Jews and Blacks should be killed, and other stuff), a community that had a large Holocaust survivor population.    The case went all of the way up to the Supreme Court.  The Nazis were defended by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).  The Nazis won with the Supreme Court ruling that even hate speech is protected speech.

By 2017, Facebook had faced calls to censor fake news stories, many of which circulated before the election.  As this article stated in 2017, these fake news stories gained more traction than real news stories.  At the time, Facebook had denied that it had any ability to influence an election.  As this article points out, “people tend to read and spread stories they already agree or disagree with strongly.  In other words, if a person does not feel strongly about a topic (or website or picture or whatever), they are not going to be bothered to take the time to “share it”.

But after the initial wave of sharing, sharing of stories becomes more nuanced.

Anyway, in 2017, Facebook said that it was going to employ third-party fact-checkers and stronger “fake news” detection algorithms.

I love this quote from the Maximum PC 2017 article …

“We may abhor censorship in theory, but it’s remarkable how quickly it is called for when we don’t like the results of unrestricted access.  It is a slippery slope on a delicate balance.  As Mr. Zuckerberg commented, “We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or mistakenly  restricting accurate content.”  However, it is still a big step from removing individual articles to allowing wholesale censorship on specific subjects under state control.  The Chinese experiment is moving into darker waters.”

An uncomfortable question here is how far is Facebook willing to compromise to get new business?  …

In a recent press interview, Mark Zuckerberg was asked what checks and balances needed to exist for entities such as Facebook, as currently seemed to be Zuckerberg himself.  The reply consisted largely of platitudes on connectivity and the power to share.  It was particularly unconvincing stuff.  There is a growing gap between accountability and responsibility that will need addressing at some point.

But that was in February 2017.  It is now August 2022, and Mark Zuckerberg just admitted that in October 2020, the FBI approached Mark Zuckerberg and told him that Russia was on a disinformation campaign to affect the 2020 election.

In 2022, Mark Zuckerberg Admits that the FBI approached him in October 2020 about suppressing the Biden Laptop story

On August 25, 2022, Fox News published the article “Mark Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan FBI warned Facebook of ‘Russian propaganda’ before Hunter Biden laptop story”.  Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s actions in limiting the reach of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In 2020, the FBI approached Mark Zuckerberg and warned him about Russian propaganda ahead of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden Laptop story.  Zuckerberg admitted, “Twitter completely censored the Post’s reporting while Facebook limited its reach on the platform.”

In other words, as everybody predicted in 2017, once the technology was developed to dictate in China which topics were allowed or not allowed to be published, what would stop the United States government from dictating to Facebook (or other sites) what topics can and cannot be talked about.

Zukerberg stated that users were still allowed to “share the article”, but Facebook took measures to limit how much it spread.  In other words, they used the algorithms that they developed to make sure it never got any high rankings.

Zuckerberg’s defense now in 2022 is that the FBI is a “legitimate institution in this country (United States), it’s very professional law enforcement – they come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something – I want to take that seriously.”

My opinion:  In Zuckerberg’s defense, that is the way it should be.  Same with the NIH, CDC, FDA, etc.  Unfortunately, in 2022, that is no longer a true statement.

“Mark Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan that Facebook algorithmically censored the Hunter Biden laptop story for 7 days on a general request from the FBI to restrict election misinformation.” (Twitter post by Minds)

“Did they specifically say you need to be on guard about that story?”, Rogan followed.

“No, I don’t remember if it was that specific, but it basically fit the pattern,” Zuckerberg said.

When asked if there was any “regret” about suppressing a story that turned out to be factual, Zuckerberg replied, “Yeah, yeah. I mean, it sucks.”

Whistleblowers allege FBI officials told agents not to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop for months over concerns it would impact the 2020 election.

On April 12, 2019, three water-damaged laptops were dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware.  in July 2019, the repair shop contacted the FBI about the laptop.  The FBI finally picked up the laptop in December 2019.

President Biden announced his presidency on April 25, 2019.

Yea, nothing suspicious going on, and the FBI would never do anything that would be considered political (wink, wink).