Back in August I came to this conclusion
about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's nascent political aspirations:
So here's the exit question folks: which is more frightening?
One one hand there's the notion that Zuck wants to run the country like he's running Facebook, as the ultimate Silicon Valley dudebro who thinks tech can solve everything. On the other hand there's the notion that he's lost control of his social network behemoth and not even he knows how to fix the fake news spewing volcano that he's helped to unleash under the body politic.
Neither scenario exactly fills me with confidence.
Several weeks later as the evidence piles up that the Russians gleefully used $100,000 in Facebook ads as a pro-Trump propaganda tool
and that Zuckerberg has lost control of the platform he built to the algorithms that rule it
, now we find out that Zuckerberg was warned 15 months ago that his big blue toy was a target and that the Facebook founder ignored the warnings
In the days immediately after the 2016 election, Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg seemed offended by suggestions that the social network he created might have had any influence on the outcome, beyond serving as a marketplace for the exchange of ideas. “Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” he said, on stage at the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, California. While some were quick to blame Facebook for amplifying misinformation about Hillary Clinton, Zuckerberg suggested that critics were betraying a “profound lack of empathy” by not taking voters who supported Donald Trump seriously.
Zuckerberg wasn’t wrong to be skeptical of Democrats assigning blame rather than engaging in self-reflection. But in dismissing the possibility that social media might be anything other than a force for good, Zuckerberg was also slow to recognize Facebook’s own vulnerabilities in an age of information warfare. About a week after the Techonomy conference, however, Zuckerberg received a “wake-up call” from President Barack Obama, The Washington Postreports. During a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, nine days after the election, Obama tried to personally appeal to Zuckerberg, warning that unless Facebook did something, its fake-news problem would only be exacerbated in the next presidential election:
For months leading up to the vote, Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign without making matters worse. Weeks after Trump’s surprise victory, some of Obama’s aides looked back with regret and wished they had done more.
Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy, according to people briefed on the exchange, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of a private conversation.
The account of Zuckerberg’s post-election reckoning also reveals new details about what Facebook executives knew, and when they knew it. The Post reports that Facebook notified the F.B.I. as early as June 2016 when a hacking group working in connection to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence unit, started making fake Facebook profiles to disseminate stolen e-mails and manipulate public opinion—days before Guccifer 2.0, a hacking persona now thought to be a front for Russian intelligence, took credit for hacking the Democratic National Committee. But after looking into the accounts, which were linked to the GRU’s hacking group called APT28 or Fancy Bear, which set up a Facebook profile for Guccifer 2.0 and a Facebook page called DCLeaks, the company came to believe they weren’t linked to a foreign government but were instead financially motivated.
Facebook thought it was about money, not politics. Then they took the money anyway. Which just goes to show you that the part of technology most vulnerable to manipulation remains the humans who think they control it
No wonder then that Steve Bannon sought to put a mole among Facebook's staff
Steve Bannon plotted to plant a mole inside Facebook, according to emails sent days before the Breitbart boss took over Donald Trump’s campaign and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The email exchange with a conservative Washington operative reveals the importance that the giant tech platform — now reeling from its role in the 2016 election — held for one of the campaign’s central figures. And it also shows the lengths to which the brawling new American right is willing to go to keep tabs on and gain leverage over the Silicon Valley giants they used to help elect Trump — but whose executives they also see as part of the globalist enemy.
The idea to infiltrate Facebook came to Bannon from Chris Gacek, a former congressional staffer who is now an official at the Family Research Council, which lobbies against abortion and many LGBT rights.
“There is one for a DC-based ‘Public Policy Manager’ at Facebook’s What’s APP [sic] division,” Gacek, the Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs at the group, wrote on August 1, 2016. “LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings.”
“This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB," he continued.
Whether or not anything came of it, we don't know. But the Trump regime certainly knew how important Facebook was to their plans. And in the end, Doctor Zuckenstein here doesn't want to believe that his creation is a dangerous monster that can be used for nefarious purposes.
We're all in trouble as long as this goes on.