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Maybe I'm being too cynical, but this seems about as philanthropic as Ron Hubbard starting a religion.

Firstly, the donation is stock not cash, so the value of this foundation will be directly linked to the value of Facebook shares.

Secondly, it has been stated that one of the things this foundation will do is "participate in policy debates". If the headline was "Mark Zuckerberg to put $45 billion is stock behind lobbying effort to establish Internet.org as a monopoly in developing countries", that wouldn't sound quite so positive, would it?




It sincerely depresses me that the top comment on Hacker News is so incredibly cynical. The man is giving away a huge amount of money and you can only find ways to detract.

> Firstly, the donation is stock not cash, so the value of this foundation will be directly linked to the value of Facebook shares.

So? The vast majority of his wealth is in Facebook shares. That doesn't change the fact that he's giving away the vast majority of it. You think he should have sold it all now, destroyed its value, and donated a much smaller pot?

> it has been stated that one of the things this foundation will do is "participate in policy debates".

One of many things. Not to mention he has never attempted to make Internet.org anything close to a monopoly.

That your reaction to an incredibly charitable act is such pure cynicism is absolutely disgusting. There are plenty of billionaires who hoard their money or perpetuate hereditary fortunes, and those who don't should be commended.


> Not to mention he has never attempted to make Internet.org anything close to a monopoly.

Do you even know what Internet.org is? They're providing free access to a subset of the internet that Facebook controls, while forcing people to pay if they want to access the internet as a whole. The entire reason Internet.org exists is to create a Facebook monopoly on data access in developing countries.

Your entire comment is naive.


Internet.org provides access to a subset of the internet that Facebook chooses to pay for. The target audience is mostly people that can't afford any internet access to the first place because it is to outrageously expensive. As well, that subset of the internet is open to developers to submit their own services to be supported by Internet.org [1]. Last time I glanced through the agreement, Facebook is just trying to avoid paying for HD photos and video downloads, which would increase the cost of Internet.org beyond feasibility.

An initiative can be charitable while also benefiting the donor. The users of Internet.org get free access to Facebook as well as the other services being provided and that doesn't detract from the service or make the whole initiative evil.

I have yet to see research that providing a zero-rating service is harmful as you suggest.

[1]: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/internet-org


> I have yet to see research that providing a zero-rating service is harmful as you suggest.

"Internet.org provides access to a subset of the internet that Facebook chooses to pay for."

> Last time I glanced through the agreement, Facebook is just trying to avoid paying for HD photos and video downloads, which would increase the cost of Internet.org beyond feasibility.

This could be achieved by choking bandwidth, which would be easier to implement, simpler, and more transparent. Instead, you get stuff like:

"In order for your content to be proxied as described above, your URLs may be re-written and embedded content (like javascript and content originating from another domain) removed. In addition, secure content is not supported and may not load." [1]

Let's be absolutely clear here: Facebook wants to control what content gets into Free Basics and how it's presented, and is willing to make security impossible in order to do it. This enables both censorship and mass surveillance controlled by Facebook and whoever is willing to pay them.

> The users of Internet.org get free access to Facebook as well as the other services being provided and that doesn't detract from the service or make the whole initiative evil.

It's not the things users get access to that I'm worried about, it's the things they don't get access to, and who else gets access to those user's data.

[1] https://developers.facebook.com/docs/internet-org/participat...


Try exercising a less naive approach ("incredibly charitable act") perhaps.

In particular, regarding your statement "he has never attempted to make Internet.org anything close to a monopoly", it surely looks like that's the end game here - see https://www.techinasia.com/talk/facebooks-internetorg-evil/ (discussed on HN here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10568525)


You are being too cynical. He's giving away stock not cash because if he sold the stock first to raise cash to donate, he'd have an enormous capital gains tax liability. By gifting stock, he can gift a far greater amount and the tax-exempt recipient charity can sell the stock itself to raise cash. This is standard in situations like this - e.g. it's what Buffett did when gifting away almost all of his billions.

Also the cause you listed is just one of many that he is gifting to so you're missing the forest for the trees. To help overcome this, list all of the good causes he mentioned (personalized learning, curing disease etc), then list the ones that you don't like. I bet the list of good causes will be far longer than the list of ones you don't like.


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/technology/mark-zuckerberg...

Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, said they were forming a new organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to manage the money, through an unusual limited liability corporate structure. [...] By using a limited liability company instead of a nonprofit corporation or foundation, the Zuckerberg family will be able to go beyond making philanthropic grants. They will invest in companies, lobby for legislation and seek to influence public policy debates, which nonprofits are restricted from doing under tax laws. A spokeswoman for the family said that any profits from the investments would be plowed back into the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for future projects.


Someone with more knowledge of the U.S. tax code than me will be able to explain how he's going to achieve this while funding a new corporation (perhaps he'll set up a foundation that owns a corporation, similar to what some endowment funds do to avoid UBTI), but there is no way that he's going to make this gift much smaller by doing it in a way that realizes a taxable gain at the time of gift.


If anything, you are not being cynical enough. This 'letter' can be summarized as "We will use the money for leftist lobbying in our country and establishing a monopoly in other countries AND we're going to say it's charity so no taxes will be paid".


I think you're being too cynical.

So what if the donation is stock?

Since when does

> We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. Many institutions are unwilling to do this, but progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.

mean "lobbying effort to establish Internet.org as a monopoly in developing countries"?


You're just picking the part of the story that you don't like. Zuck maybe has taken decisions that some of us don't share (most likely all related to privacy/monopolies in the internet)... but (like Bill Gates) he's undoubtedly in a unique position to bring deep changes and improvements to the world through philanthropic activities.

If having a child has made him rethink his views (which would be normal) then that's great. Too bad he didn't have a child before and started this initiative few years ago!

What part of "curing diseases" sounds greedy, egomaniac, or bad in any sense? I hope he joins Gates, Thiel, Parker, Diamandis, Page, Kurzweil, and many others on their quest to eradicate diseases from the face of earth. And I hope he funds Aubrey De Grey like Thiel is doing...


My first response was "why not just give it to the Gates foundation" since they're already doing it and well. What's his special insight into what makes a cause effective to fund? Are we perpetuating a world in which charities employ a bunch of people to convince any of a hundred different rich philanthropists/foundations to hand over wodges of cash?

It's a hugely net positive thing he is doing no question.


Gates managed to make people believe he somehow became a Saint after leaving Microsoft, even though he created and guided it to become pretty much the most evil IT company ever.

People just don't talk about it anymore, so he's all good now.

But there's obviously something shady about his dealings: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/06/07/bill-gates-big-pharma-b...




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