I'd like to add a thought too. At the end of the day, this is a centralized system, built by people in a very specific sphere in a single country and thus in a relatively homogeneous culture and world view.
It struck me, fore example, how they had the "change your profile picture" feature for solidarity to the Paris attacks but not for the Beirut ones; even though both were terribly deadly, by the same perpetrating organization, and they happened on consecutive days.
Or how they prompted me to post about the Super Bowl, even though I don't watch or care about American Football, but they ignore other big sporting events.
Facebook is very much anglo-centric and in subtle but important ways amplified by it's massive scale it's imposing a certain world views over others.
This mantra that everyone on the web would be happy if we succumb to facebook and let us be manipulated in a way that was never even been imagined by newspapers or television is so sickening. FB isn't a free speech platform as much as it's users like to pretend it, the way it is currently run is harmful to civil and democratic society as well as our digital freedom - freedom of expression and fundamental human rights. The thought policing that is underway is remarkable, I never even imagined that this abomination of a website would grow to that extent.
Essentially, he's talking about a world where the "in-group" (in terms of "in-group" vs. "out-group") becomes global. I simply cannot find fault with that, because almost by definition, that should greatly diminish risks of violence and war, increase cooperation, increase real freedom (because you'll have many more options for places to live without being the stranger feeling strange) and so on.
I am already part of several global communities whose members have more in common with each other than with the average citizen of their home countries. HN, (my branch of) academia etc.
The criticism that may be harder to dispel is weather such a community is possible: maybe there is some sort basic need for people to create groups, not just for the benefits they get from being on the inside, but also for some sort of satisfaction they get from the knowledge that others are not.
But even if: it seems at least as easy to believe that humans have an innate streak of violence, and it's part of greatness of humanity to have managed to largely stunt that instinct. If there really is a need for outsiders, I doubt that it could be stronger, or that it couldn't be overcome by the same mechanisms.
NAFTA was widely criticised by some Mexican leftists (might still be, haven't been following as closely) because it was viewed as being hugely beneficial to foreign interests and to wealthy elites, not to common Mexicans. The same people in favour of women's rights and equality were critical of globalisation.
If this is about US politics, I find it so weird how each issue is exactly left or right and if you know someone's opinion about one issue you must immediately know their opinion about every other issue. How did that country become so polarised?
Because we have eyes and brains and we use language to describe what's going on. There might be some instances of people who called themselves leftists who opposed something which we're now referring to as a leftist agenda. It's not a perfect black and white classification scheme but the deep link between leftism and globalization is painfully obvious to anyone with a brain. We're polarized because we disagree, deeply, trying to mix up the language used to describe that disagreement isn't going to make us less polarized.
If core parts of what "left" and "right" mean are subject to re-definition every 4 years, maybe the polarized tail is wagging the dog.
There is 'global left/right' and 'local/national left/right' now.
The 'global left' is exemplified by UN.
The 'global right' exemplified by WTO.
Often, the 'global' version of a movement can be in conflict with the 'local' version.
This is seen clearly: 'global leftists' care about migrants - a lot - but immigration can be hurtful to the working class of the host nation. Mass importation unskilled labour = wage suppression, it's just an economic reality. 'Global lefits' might use negative terms such as 'lazy Americans' or whatever - which demonstrates the rift - 'working class' Americans are the 'traditional base' of leftists/labour organizations.
This is most acutely seen in the UK, where the Labour vote has been split - most of UKIP (nationalist) votes came from Labour - who are now more of a 'globalist left' party.
The Tories under May are a more 'traditional right wing' party, whereas the Liberals (i.e. Classical Liberal, which in America would be more akin to 'Libertarian') are kind for the 'pro globalist right wing' party - i.e. trade and business is the most important thing.
'Free Trade' sometimes breaks leftist ideals - because on one hand, it can have directly negative consequences for many workers. On the other hand - it means benefits for the working poor in other nations, and quite a lot of benefits for those who can hold onto their jobs in the host nation (lower prices for goods). Of course, the greatest rewards of globalism to the investing class.
Also - it's usually centre-left activists who care about such issues as 'gentrification'. Well - 'globalization' is a kind of 'gentrification' on a massive scale. The loss of local customs, authentic culture etc. is acute in some places like 'Harlem' - but it's also becoming acute across entire nations - some wealthy, some not.
But I disagree with the suggestion that 'there is no more left/right'.
If you take the perspective that there is a globalist/localist divide in both camps, it fairly succinctly explains what is going in in politics all over the Western world.
This is not a novel idea - I'm explaining what others have already professed.
Some added terminology is necessary because Americans use the term 'Liberal' - which in the rest of the world means 'Classical Liberal' - or in American terms 'Libertarian' - and so the mis-matching of terms creates a lot of confusion.
Due to this, you end up with conflicting viewpoints between upper classes in different countries being resolved on the back of the market. What the working class see's is a system that, on the outside, looks fair, but once you delve any deeper than the surface, you realize it's a system of men not rules; the IRS tax code, for example, cannot be understood by one person, it can only be understood and executed upon by an organization. That's the point of many laws, and how arbitrage is executed against individuals.
As one example of this; I once interviewed at a company named Catamaran, who's entire existence was based upon taking complex contract terms for prescription drugs and lining them up with insurance plans. We've got a medical industry, insulated completely from anti-trust law, producing a massive economic distortion from being able to do things that in any other industry would be criminal. In the middle of this industry, there's a multi-billion dollar company that does prescription management largely for drugs that are developed to treat symptoms instead of resolve diseases. Thousands of people doing a largely useless paper shuffling job.
By contrast, I work for a tiny forging company, not even 100 people, and one of the products that company manufactures allowed an international automotive company to undercut the competition by enabling their autos to reduce fuel mileage by a substantial percentage and they are currently cleaning the floor with every other manufacturer out there. Similarly, we have other products for the energy industry that have were similarly innovative.
Ultimately, this system generates wage arbitrage as a waste product and wage arbitrage generates the erosion of culture as a byproduct; the upper classes increasingly chase values so abstract and divided from reality that have absolutely nothing to do with delivering real value to society or getting anything done. I make peanuts compared to what I could make working at a place like Catamaran, but on the same token, working at Catamaran, frankly like working at most silicon valley companies, wouldn't be honest or meaningful work. The company I work at right now has an authentic culture; Catamaran was, like most companies, a faceless mass with no culture (except for political correctness and other Marxist\leftist ideals which isn't a culture unto itself) to speak of.
Ultimately, globalism as it is right now is self-destructive; we waste our time running around in circles to provide a few elites job security. Technology, as the atom bomb taught us, is sometimes terrifying, and it's going to happen whether we are ready for it or not. Our best and brightest need to be leading, and society needs to have the freedom to choose its own culture and values. Without that, much like face-book today, you're a train headed on a predefined set of track for a cliff.
Wasn't Bernie Sanders both the most leftist and most anti-tpp/nafta candidate? Also Keith Ellison, who's potentially the next DNC chair and was endorsed by both Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer? (and by Bernie Sanders, and by David Duke for that matter)
I'd say the record holds up pretty well.
What about the other 3 billion people left behind in poverty? That's more than what the total global population was when these "globalist institutions" were set up.
The cited percentage change would be far more encouraging if population was constant, but it's not.
I tried finding a similar graph/data set in regard to "regular" poverty (rather than "extreme") but couldn't find one. Does anyone have a source for the change in absolute numbers of regular poverty?
The republicans loved it because they got to get rid of unions in the north and protect against unionization drives in the South (where we previously outsourced to).
The democrats liked it because their backers, particularly farmers saw it as a boon to agriculture.
It was, and it fucked American, Canadian and Mexican working class people. Millions of Mexicans didn't decide to walk across the desert for kicks. They did that because NAFTA flooded their market with cheap subsidized corn that vaporized the rural agricultural economy in Mexico, just like it did in the US.
Now the republicans have been eaten from the inside out by the true believers of their AstroTurf tea party movement. So they make a lot of noise about being against it now.
The left has historically always been about social justice, egalitarianism and opposition to social inequality, while Neoliberalism as far right as it gets.
I think we both agree that a centralized global hierarchy of power is impractical.
But what about a modular decentralized network of local and non local communities across the globe working together in symbiosis?
Zuck is working against that.
'Sovereign nations, interacting and trading with one another with mutual respect and fraternity' is practically the motto of for example the UKIP party in the UK - but it's denigrated by most globalist types.
Most globalists want more power to the UN, more power to the EU, more power even to at the Federal level of the US, more power to globally governing entities.
They are usually good people, who think that they know better than the common person.
Here is a good example of a voice for staunch globalism: Jean Claude Junker, President of the EU Commission:
You can read quite a lot from his quotes - they are quite authoritarian and in many ways totally anti-democratic.
a modular decentralized network of local and non local
communities across the globe working together in symbiosis?
The biggest barriers to scaling up are not technical but social (i.e. IP laws, legacy spaghetti tax and trade codes, prejudices).
The basic finding of the studies detailed in that book are that globalization, and particularly multiculturalism within communities have very negative effects on the happiness and community participation of those involved. Diversity and multiculturalism are generally considered axiomatically good by the left and these studies were done by leftist to prove that value. They found exactly the opposite, and they've been replicated many times, again by leftists, hoping to find a different result but to no avail.
As if it's impossible to have "social intercourse" in a bowling alley without paying a league $20 and blocking out your Tuesday nights.
You can see the same fallacy at work when greek organizations bemoan the "death of socialization" on campuses where frat/sorority membership goes into decline. But of course, people somehow (got knows how! /s) manage to have social lives, volunteer and give back, etc. without paying Alpha Omega Inc. a few grand a year.
The same thing has happened writ large is society -- to the extent that you can find "decline" in the data, it's more than explained by a growth of new forms of involvement that 20 year old metrics don't properly capture (e.g., if you ignore hacker spaces, maker communities, online mentoring communities, and open source development, HN looks pretty desolate as far as "social intercourse" and volunteering go. But of course anyone who knows WTF they're talking about will roll their eyes if you use the lack of posts about Boy Scouts as an indicator of the social decline of HN's front page).
> and these studies were done by leftist to prove that value. They found exactly the opposite, and they've been replicated many times, again by leftists, hoping to find a different result but to no avail.
1. The studies discussed by Putnam doesn't demonstrate any of this, and these aren't even Putnam's core claims.
He demonizes VIDEO GAMES and women working more than multi-culturalism.
2. To the extent that Putnam does present evidence for his claims (which isn't nearly often enough), there's been no shortage of evidence-based refutation. The wikipedia article even has a "criticism" section, which outlines the main arguments.
Basically, if Putnam's data is to be believed, open source developers (and thousands of other people who are doing something other than volunteering with out-dated orgs) are politically disengaged and insular loners who give nothing back to society.
The problem with jumping to the conclusion that "multiculturalism is bad" is that it seeds the idea that people who don't lookalike can't peacefully co-exist. Personally, I feel a far greater sense of community here in Silicon Valley than I did in the homogenous suburb I grew up in.
"I want my indigenous community to keep speaking our language and practising our religion, but outsiders want us to stop."
"I want to keep having a local community based on farming, but outsiders are tempting our children to move away."
"I want to have the skills I grew up with stay economically relevant, but connecting to the wider economy is making it hard to compete because outsiders are selling similar things cheaper, and making us want new things we don't have an easy way to trade for."
"I want to keep my family learning the things that I think are important but outsiders are trying to teach them skills that are more relevant to a different way of life or set of professions, and trying to teach them a new set of tastes and cravings."
"I want to keep hunting baby seals/whaling/participating in blood sports/practising female circumcision/using corporal punishment on my children/performing animal sacrifices, but outsiders think that's backwards and barbaric and want to stigmatize or outlaw it."
"I want my children to stay in my religion, but other people are trying to evangelize them or deconvert them or expose them to media that mocks or argues against my religion."
"Attracting the attention of outsiders for how great our culture or land is brings all kinds of problems, like tourists who behave badly and inappropriately, or are violent to us, or want to move here and drive up land prices, or want to increase the level of economic activity or bring in extractive industries, or different governments fighting wars over our territory."
"I think my people have an important connection to our land, in a way that we don't have to other places and other people don't have to this place, for example because we know how and why the places here are holy, and that connection or awareness means it's important that we live here and that other people don't."
"My people aren't really that good at interacting with outsiders; our culture or education means that others take advantage of us easily by proposing bargains that aren't really good deals for us, and we don't know how to cope with the disruptions of rapid change, and we tend to get addicted to the drugs that other people bring us that we don't have a prior history with."
"These people say they like and care about us, but then they want to change everything about how we live!"
"My language is stigmatized as a 'dialect' and is useless anywhere else outside of my community. When other people come here they all want us to speak French/Chinese/Russian/English, yet when I go elsewhere people laugh at my attempts to use my own language. This asymmetry makes me feel cheated."
"My community has values I think are really important, like the way we think about family, but now that we're seeing all of these contrary examples in foreign media, people seem less sure of the importance of those values and less willing to act on them. The foreign media don't even always directly engage with our values; they may just subtly suggest that they're just not a big deal."
"We used to have lots of jobs here but at some point they all seemed to disappear. I don't even understand exactly how, but it must have to do with the larger economy. People are telling me that I have an opportunity to move somewhere else and find lots of work, but I was happier with how it was before when I didn't have to move elsewhere to find work."
"It feels like outsiders are manufacturing ethnic conflicts in my community and trying to divide us. In the past, we didn't have conflicts along the lines we do now."
Call me an asshole, but I'm a nationalist. The amazing advances in Asia and Africa's standard of living have hurt my countrymen... why should I be ok with that?
The "global" version of Hacker News would just be a text only Reddit.
> I find this letter to be deeply cynical... I find it deeply cynical that instead it masquerades as a virtuous plan to help all man kind.
As a matter of fact, this letter is hopeful, not cynical.
It's certainly hoping for something that you don't want, but that's entirely beside the point. No detached native English reader would objectively describe the tone of this piece as "cynical".
Additionally, "masquerade" implies deceit. Do you have any evidence that there aren't Zuckerberg's sincerely held beliefs?
> There's a baked in assumption that a global community is a good thing and that the only possible reason to resist it is because you're being left behind by its benefits
In what sense is this baked in?
On the contrary, the first couple paragraphs are devoted to motivating the global scale of what Zuckerberg perceives as humanity's most pressing challenges -- "...ending terrorism, fighting climate change, and preventing pandemics...".
Zuckerberg isn't saying "we need global cooperation because it's an inherent good." He's identifying concrete problems facing humanity, and suggesting reasons why international cooperation is necessary to tackle those concrete problems.
A substantive response to Zuckerberg would like-wise address these concrete problems and discuss how his proposed solutions are ineffective or counter-productive, rather than rejecting the letter carte blanc in broad rhetorical strokes.
Again, you're free to disagree with Zuckerberg, but calling these "baked in assumptions" is a mis-comprehension.
> I don't think that's true and I certainly don't think it should be assumed a priori.
OK, fair enough!
> There are people in this country, and every where in the world, who don't want globalization. And it's not because they haven't received enough of the benefits or need to be educated better, they don't want it for real reasons and, in a Democracy, that should be an acceptable stance.
Where does Zuckerberg state otherwise?
> If we're not willing to accept that stance than we're forcing people into a global community that matches our vision for the future, not theirs.
Zuckerberg disagrees with you. He's stating that disagreement in a public forum.
Critically, he's NOT suggesting that you shouldn't be allowed to have your opinion! He's just suggesting that your opinion is wrong and that we ought to go a different direction instead.
Existence of opposing political wills working publicly in good faith toward their goals (opposing or otherwise) is a foundation of democracy.
You're effectively suggesting that someone is anti-democractic because they openly oppose your policy agenda. Which is a deeply flawed argument.
> In other words it's a plot for world domination of one world view over another.
All political projects are plots for domination. Even liberty-minded political projects aim to dominate opposing political forces in order to make room for their libertarian projects. Distribution of power is the whole point of politics.
Disparaging politics is fine, of course, but it's a confusing thing to do when you're taking the opposing side of a political battle...
Let's recap. OP says:
>> They don't want it for real reasons and, in a Democracy, that should be an acceptable stance. If we're not willing to accept that stance than we're forcing people into a global community that matches our vision for the future, not theirs.
So you say.
> Existence of opposing political wills working publicly in good faith toward their goals (opposing or otherwise) is a foundation of democracy.
You're effectively suggesting that someone is anti-democractic because they openly oppose your policy agenda. Which is a deeply flawed argument.
But if his/her agenda is Democracy, then yes, someone who opposes this agenda comes off as anti-democratic no? OP does seem to be in line with the Democratic ideal since autonomy and sovereignty is a big part of democracy, which is in line with your own comment!
So OP is saying "hey, some people oppose this. Democracy is about allowing differing views, so forcing this is not democratic". To which you are saying, "Well, that's flawed, because democracy is about allowing differing views". See where I'm getting at?
Just thought I'd point this out this little oxymoron to you since it seems like you tripped a bit in your logic and confused arguments. Happens to everyone, but worth pointing out so you keep it in mind for the future!
Where does Zuckerberg oppose democracy in this post? Show me the specific line where he makes a concrete and definitive statement that he opposes democracy.
If Zuckerberg were arguing against democracy, or if the parent gave a concrete argument that this is an effect of his advocacy, then I would have all the sympathy in the world for the argument you're making. But parent doesn't make that argument, and I'm pretty damn sure Zuckerberg didn't explicitly condone anti-democratic viewpoints in this post.
> Democracy is about allowing differing views, so forcing this is not democratic"
Democracies are a form of government.
The whole point of government is applying force.
The point of democracy is that we come to a consensus about when and how to apply that force via voting.
But the application of force itself is extremely democratic. Without it, government -- and by extension, democracy -- does not exist.
Now, if Zuckerberg were arguing that we should apply that force to prevent you from expressing your opinion or obtaining democratic consensus about something, that's one thing. But again, I don't think he's saying any of that...
> Just thought I'd point this out this little oxymoron to you since it seems like you tripped a bit in your logic and confused arguments
I interpreted Zuckerberg's words on face value. You seem to be reading a hell of a lot between the lines. And maybe that's fair. But you have to actually make that argument. Otherwise you're preaching to the choir and anyone who doesn't already agree with you is left confused and incredulous.
Because, at face value, Zuckerberg is NOT arguing against either democracy OR against free speech rights. If you want to argue that he is sympathetic to authoritarianism or opposed to free speech, then make that argument. But don't condescend as if these things are obvious when the actual text were discussing emphatically doesn't argue against either democracy or free speech.
If you can point to the specific line in this post where he explicitly advocates either of those things, I'll extend my sincerest apologies. Otherwise, you're drawing extremely wild inferences out of thin air, and taking a condescending tone when people call into question your rather conspiratorial priors.
> Happens to everyone
A) Balance of power (roughly equal in strength)
B) Mutual dependence (trade)
C) Some degree of truthfulness and transparency (i.e. freedom of information, speech, free press, institutions with integrity)
Nations co-exist peacefully in a dynamic equilibrium. When that equilibrium is shifted (one weak, one strong i.e. power vacuum) - this creates conflict.
This is why 'peacekeeping' as envisioned by the UN largely failed. A bunch of lightly-armed 'blue helmets' effectively does nothing to remedy the underlying causes driving conflict.
For example, I know a good few people who are opposed to that pipeline being built in North Dakota right now. Unfortunately they sometimes repost any news story about an oil spill or pipeline failure they come across in the mistaken assumption that they're seeing because it just happened.
Heck, let's go back to text-only status updates and I can go back to reading what my acquaintances are eating. That would be much more pleasant than today's facebook.
Maybe a better summary: "retweets are cheap"
If I want to read about what's going on with the world, I'll read a news site. If I want to know what's going on with my friends' lives, I'll read facebook.
Unfortunately facebook in its current implementation seems hellbent on encouraging people to be prats.
That doesn't fit what I've seen on Facebook. A better description, "for many people, ranting about their political opinions on Facebook seems to be fulfilling for them." The only way it impacts their lives is that it was the source of their entertainment for the day.
Email and text, like Facebook posts, are all instantaneous means of communication, unlike sending a letter. Email and text are actually better too, because I can send the article directly to the recipients I intend on sharing it with, as opposed to a Facebook post, which is like an email, except the To: field is populated with <my entire address book, potentially>
> Fortunately, there are clear steps we can take to correct these effects. For example, we noticed some people share stories based on sensational headlines without ever reading the story. In general, if you become less likely to share a story after reading it, that's a good sign the headline was sensational. If you're more likely to share a story after reading it, that's often a sign of good in-depth content. We recently started reducing sensationalism in News Feed by taking this into account for pieces of content, and going forward signals like this will identify sensational publishers as well.
Also, depending on the content and source it may be possible to infer the value or significance of something from the headline alone, eg when one has specialist domain knowledge and sees a headline one knows to be an accurate summary of recent developments in that field.
It might still hold for a large group of people, though, and be valid in a statistical sense? Which is what they're really after.
On HN, the idea was floated around but quickly shot down: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12053645
So people that the community trust would have a larger say in what the community saw on the front page. Say for every 1K karma they get an extra 0.1 to their vote... I think mine would be about +1.3
I think the same could work in democracy but on a more fine scale. At the moment my local MP has more of a say in government than I do. Rightly so. But we could make those levels more interesting, if we said that if twenty people endorse you, your vote becomes twice as powerful. I bet someone has thought this through better than me.
For one, give people using your site some basic privacy so their own governments can't use your site to target political enemies.
Yes, it's not illegal to do those crazy tax schemes, but it sure is unethical.
I believe he truly, in his own powerful bubble, thinks
that he does good to the world and sincerely doesn't understand he is big part of the people rejecting globalization.
From my skimming through the first 30-40 comments, they're uniformly positive. I find it hard to believe that any internet forum open to public commentary would have that many positive responses.
I wonder if he doesn't even realize it, thinking instead that Facebook and internet communities as a whole are entirely positive to him and his company (despite the fact that he inevitably spent time in the grunges of the internet in his earlier days).
I used to subscribe to Zuckerberg's posts, and the comments were hilariously consistent. Uniformly positive, and approximately 80% of them were people asking for jobs at Facebook.
Doesn't rule out your theory though.
When NAFTA was originally signed in 1994, with the intention of opening borders to big businesses, there were some unfortunate side effects.
A lot of Mexican farmers used to operate in smaller scales. Many worked on communal lands that grew food in smaller scale.
Now, fast forward to NAFTA. Part of the deal phased out tariffs that were protecting and helping these small farmers keep in place. With the market open, American corn started flooding Mexico, bringing many of these millions of small farmers out of business or severely hurting their economic prospects.
What was left for them to do? Mexico didn't have a supply of alternative jobs for all these people, so illegal migration to the United States picked up. Lots of illegal immigrants didn't move to the US because things are just "better" there; they were willing to leave their home land, their families, cross a desert, risk not only decoration but their lives and move into an unknown country that speaks another language because they were desperate. They didn't have a choice, since they lost their land and source of income. It was, and still is, a big risk and sacrifice.
That's largely why we saw that 20 year hump in Mexicans coming illegally into the United States (Mexican migration to the US has been falling these last few years though).
It's interesting, because now the US wants to close their borders. Effectively the consequence of this development is that big food corporations greatly benefited from the open borders, but the average person did not.
This is not black and white, about opening borders always, or having nothing go through. Globalization and open borders needs to be to the interest of the people, and it's not always good. Building physical walls is incredibly stupid and childish, but there do need to be some hurdles in place so the big fish doesn't eat the small, specifically, so the big corporation doesn't destroy local economies all of a sudden.
A few interesting reads.
Look, I get it and I think for a while it actually worked. Mostly because the User base was, offhandedly speaking, more responsible with how they used the Communication Tool of Facebook. When the internet was "difficult" and not as instant as turning on a TV, look, there was a threshold of participation that resulted in Selection Bias of sorts.
Let's take an extreme example of another type of Tool, that when placed in the "Wrong" hands - so to speak - can wreak a lot of havoc: A Firearm. In the hands of a Responsible Person, a Firearm is a Tool, though it can also be a Weapon if so intended. It has pretty limited scope, but it's useful and can be controlled.
Put the Firearm in the hand of an Irresponsible Person and the outcomes will likely be "Unpleasant" to put it lightly. Irresponsibility takes many forms - sometimes it's a case of Emotional Stress (relationship break up), Financial Catastrophe (debt), Desperation (drug addiction). Humans are very much unrefined and uncivilized as much as we'd like to promote a different image.
I mean, when I think about BIG PROBLEMS it's stuff that Facebook isn't really the right tool for the job. You know, things like water. I just checked, and the UN posits:
>783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.
It might seem like I'm moving the goalposts here, but it's actually kind of a way of twisting your attention around a little.
My impression is that Facebook, in the past two years, has been one of the most divisive, family and friendship havoc wreaking wastelands and, like it or not, a behemoth with only a vestigial relationship to Zuck's latest missive. I've seen far too many posts time and time again about people noticing their lives are happier and more positive by either vastly reducing or altogether eliminating participation in Facebook.
It's hard to bring the world together when providing the forum for it to tear itself apart. Right? Maybe that essay is still in the works.
It's talking about building global communities, so anybody or everybody could or should have such an ambition.
Does that give one a sense of unease thinking about it?
If that is the case then maybe global community in that sense may not be a popular or good idea.
In this context, I'd like to draw your attention to how developing countries viewed technologies and ideas from the developed countries until a couple of decades ago. They've copied them first and then moulded them to their specific needs.
But technologies and ideas of the last decade or so cannot be copied and moulded, instead the ideas subsume them. There's no Facebook like thing in India. They use Facebook. There's no Google like thing in India. They use Google. This is ok as long as it's affecting only a small slice of their experience. However that slice has been growing and becoming more important every passing day. More people are becoming more concerned.
That concern is a lot like the sense of unease I alluded to earlier.
> Zuck: How do we help people build supportive communities that strengthen traditional institutions in a world where membership in these institutions is declining?
what is meant by "traditional institutions"? Maybe the problem is that "traditional institutions" (which are what, exactly? churches?) are not addressing people's real concerns and have become irrelevant.
> Zuck: How do we help people build a safe community that prevents harm, helps during crises and rebuilds afterwards in a world where anyone across the world can affect us?
it sounds like he's talking about responding to terrorist attacks. this is such vague language that it can be interpreted to mean anything at all. sounds like he's practicing writing campaign rhetoric. Zuck wants to run for president?
> Zuck: How do we help people build an informed community that exposes us to new ideas and builds common understanding in a world where every person has a voice?
I hope he's sincere about this. Facebook has proved itself to be one of the greatest disseminators of propaganda, distortions, clickbait, manipulative media, and many varieties of malicious (as in privacy violating) advertising and data-mining. I somehow doubt we're going to see a real reversal of policy on this subject from Facebook. Maybe I'm just cynical and jaded but being a vehicle for disinformation and invasive advertising has made Facebook a lot of money.
People go to war over that kind of thing.
My first thought is, communities do not need facebook to form/grow. They never have.
However, even in light of the Arab Spring and other social uprisings around the world, I still can't buy into anything Zuck says.
I just can't reconcile in my head how the most detailed online advertising machine can ever 'help create' any real or longstanding community.
Real communities are based on real people with real interactions. Granted, I know there are discussions and groups on fb (my wife is part of a group that meets up every few mos in the 'real world'). But i also see how mich time people spend with their faces plowed into their devices, ignoring the real world going on around them.
I'm not saying fb or twitter aren't powerful tools to organize with. I am saying that I put little to no faith into them as stewards of global community building. Their motives are not altruistic and I'm sure if their ad market dropped out next week, we would not see any of these types of posts from Zuck.
And regarding the fake news bit, what's to do about that? People found massive audiences in their system and deliberately posted lies to sway opinions. To me, that's a complete failure of the benefit of fb ('connecting' the world) and why I just don't believe anything that comes out of there.
I been on campus numerous times and have quite a number of friends that work there, so it's not like I don't get fb and how they make their money. I really do. But, are these really the types of companies we want to build? You can probably say this about a lot of tech companies nowadays, but when it's free, you're the product.. This is not good for the global community long term.
Or is this just my large font preference for vision impaired? Either way, it leaves very little room for text, sometimes none at all.
News flash: Dark patterns harm accessability, but you knew that. Good work.
as an example
Do you see the same thing or something else?
'Us' includes: Three letter agencies, marketeers and other data gathering companies.
the rich are building the world they all want. everyone else is struggling to survive that world. so, no. we aren't building the world "we all want" because many of us want different things, and have different means to gain them. i'll note that facebook isn't intentionally blocking or supporting this dynamic... and i'll also note that they could have answered their own question by looking at their data set. but this is public relations, where facts are slim and the opinion of the actual public doesn't much matter.
>How do we help people build supportive communities that strengthen traditional institutions in a world where membership in these institutions is declining?
non-starter; facebook is anathema to traditional institutions because it localizes power within itself instead of relying on them... and this has been the goal of facebook all along. put differently: honest answers to this question cannot include facebook as part of the solution without actively subverting the "traditional institutions". furthermore, in the US at least, the institutions are hollowed out anyway.
>How do we help people build a safe community that prevents harm, helps during crises and rebuilds afterwards in a world where anyone across the world can affect us?
also a non-starter; facebook is a social network and software platform, not an army of robotic guards. "preventing harm" will be conflated with "enforcing stability" when they are prompted by groups with more power (governments).
>How do we help people build an informed community that exposes us to new ideas and builds common understanding in a world where every person has a voice?
don't let people use facebook unless they have a college degree or higher. you'll see university classes fill suddenly. more seriously: facebook is a filter bubble by design, and cares absolutely nothing about the reach of people's voices... and it's tiring to hear otherwise.
>How do we help people build a civically-engaged community in a world where participation in voting sometimes includes less than half our population?
by doing something that facebook won't do: taking a stand and promoting groups pushing social change forward. they already know that this is a line they won't ever cross. we all know that they won't cross that line. facebook is a large institution, which by default sides with other large established powers rather than the public. i will also note that "civic engagement" is a dogwhistle for the disempowered members of the public doing something to improve their own standing, typically in opposition to (and rarely, in cooperation with) the established powers. they don't even genuinely want to improve civic engagement, because civic engagement leads to them being obsolete.
>How do we help people build an inclusive community that reflects our collective values and common humanity from local to global levels, spanning cultures, nations and regions in a world with few examples of global communities?
what if we don't have common values, and what if we don't want inclusive communities? what if those of us who follow the western liberal tradition want nothing to do with those who live in contradiction to it and despise it? some cultural chasms can't be rectified... and i can definitively say that facebook won't change that.
in summary: leaving the construction of a global community to facebook is a surefire way to make sure that the "global community" is neutered and ripe for profit extraction. i guess this comes off as a very negative post, but come on-- think about who benefits if people worldwide jump on the zuck train and think about things in the way he's encouraging here. does anyone really think that facebook is actually interested in doing anything other than making money?
I'm really against facebooks spying, hiding and deleting people's account culture.
Also forcing people in these small ghettos gives to me strong claustrophobia feelings.
Also calling users "Dumb f.." is really low..
Nope Mark, cannot see this happening.
I find this letter to be deeply cynical. There's a baked in assumption that a global community is a good thing and that the only possible reason to resist it is because you're being left behind by its benefits. I don't think that's true and I certainly don't think it should be assumed a priori. There are people in this country, and every where in the world, who don't want globalization. And it's not because they haven't received enough of the benefits or need to be educated better, they don't want it for real reasons and, in a Democracy, that should be an acceptable stance. If we're not willing to accept that stance than we're forcing people into a global community that matches our vision for the future, not theirs. In other words it's a plot for world domination of one world view over another. I find it deeply cynical that instead it masquerades as a virtuous plan to help all man kind.
Please don't do that. We merge duplicate threads (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13663737) and now we have duplicate subthreads.
Why? People care more about what happens around them. I care more about housing issues in the Bay Area than I do the same problem in New York. I care more about Oakland crime rates than Chicago crime rates. People care more about things that directly impact them and those close to them. If people see their hometowns and communities falling apart when the main industry moves overseas, and only receive second-order benefits like slightly reduced price of good a few years later, what incentive do they have to support globalism?
Don't get me wrong, we are failing many of those communities. But is not a failure to stop globalization, it is a failure to share the gains of globalization more broadly with those most affected by its negatives. We can do both. Is not either let them starve or stop global trade, both can be prevented. Besides, a lot of those industries that keep being brought up as examples of victims of globalization only ever got to be as significant as they were due to globalization: consider the American manufacturing industry, which greatly increased in significance after WW2 mostly due to the demand for its production in war-ravaged Europe. Or the American agricultural industry, where people complain about Mexican workers "stealing" jobs, while ignoring that Mexico consumes $17.7 billion of that agricultural production from U.S. exports.
I agree with you the most here, and think it's true that unless a trade policy of that nature is implemented very carefully it could easily cause more harm than good. On the other hand, I think concerns about a complete walling off of collaboration/trade, or US manufacturers suddenly becoming unaware of international markets are overstated.
Manufacturers who have stayed alive already compete aggressively on price, which for them is more about materials management, relationships with suppliers (NXP, Samtec, Maxim, whoever), and process optimization. Component cost varies pretty dramatically by region, and how effectively a US based shop can navigate that is a big determining factor in how competitive they are with China/Mexico/etc.
From that perspective, most of the burden of something like a border adjustment tax is primarily on their customers, especially if they only do mid or low volume / high complexity runs (think medical/telecom/some consumer stuff). High volume / low complexity isn't something most US shops are geared for these days , so manufacturing will likely remain overseas and see a price increase in line with whatever policy change occurs. That probably won't hold true for high volume / high complexity (smartphones, etc) where cost of total assembly is higher. That seems to align with all the chatter about Foxconn, Samsung, Sharp, Toyota, etc. investing in US operations. 
The risks you mention are absolutely real, and my biggest hope at this stage is that any proposed changes are drafted and discussed openly, and given ample time for public review and comment.
If you don't like Facebook or other global institutions, there's no effective way to opt out.
I am not a centralist when it comes to the official international institutions precisely because the no opt-out you describe (which is true for official institutions, not so much for Facebook). But at the same time, without international cooperation and with "every nation for itself" we end up much worse off at a personal and species level.
Not that shadow profiles are a good thing, though. But I think this is drifting from the original topic, Facebook is, as of now, eminently more "escapable" than most nation states are. Certainly than any of the great powers, even if you don't live anywhere close to them.
Globalization-in-current-practice has a lot of specific problems: wealth inequality, environmental and labor laws race to the bottom, etc. But those are things to work on without throwing globalization away (the same way that propaganda on social networks can be tackled without either: "ban social media" or "internet sovereignty: internet propaganda for the national government where you live and no one else"). There are big issues with specific models of globalization. But nationalism flaws are inherent, a nationalist utopia is strictly worse than a globalist utopia, and historically nationalist reality has been worse than globalist reality (e.g. for all its problems, the E.U. beats what came before it).
Yes, in real life there are compromises to take. You have to accept that in order to thrive in the world you have to comply to some of its rules. I'm very much a cultural imperialist in that I think that an open-minded, tolerant mindset is superior to isolationist, absolutist ideas.
There's a similar argument to be made for being able to share your life on facebook - it displaces alternative interpersonal interactions, so you have the same amount of human connection except with your social graph sold to marketers.
I would posit that presenting globalisation as a choice forced on unsuspecting victims is itself cynical. You of all people should know - your a tech guy. You are aware of how technology removes economic, cultural, lingual, even physical walls. There's no going back from globalisation. Accept it and go on with your life.
> Accept it and go on with your life.
Isn't that exactly what you say to someone when you're not giving them a say in what's happening in their life?
> You are aware of how technology removes economic, cultural, lingual, even physical walls.
Tech does remove walls but it also allows you to construct walls. That's a lot of what this letter is about isn't it? Facebook has become a tool for people to organize themselves into groups that have their own political beliefs and beliefs about reality. These groups were shielded from the ideas on the other side. Why? because these walls were more effective than the ones we had in the world before. Zuckerberg has decided this was bad because people voted the "wrong" way and wants to prevent it from happening again. You might agree with that stance, but don't delude yourself into thinking this is just some inherent feature of technology. There's human morals behind these decisions.
The reason globalization is coming to a screeching halt is that human cultures vary so much. It's slowly going away, but in general for a belief to truly die off; everyone that believes in it needs to be dead. This gives us around 70 years before the walls really start coming down. That's assuming hate and prejudice are globally snuffed from the ears of the young and impressionable yesterday.
Sounds like he thinks a globally ideal society is possible and not that far away. Sounds like he needs to visit a country locked in civil war for the last 50 years for a week or two.
The "developed" world is quickly approaching utopia, but the other 4 billion people are rapidly being left behind. It's a tragedy that a double digit percentage of the human population is starving to death while I sit here in my heated and air conditioned house with ten foot ceilings, more rooms than people in it, nearly free electricity, running water of any temperature, instant access to any information I want through the internet, and more vehicles than people living here.
He needs to take a look at Bill Gates who's a lot older and wiser than Zuck appears to be. Bill has gained immense respect from me in recent years even though I'm still not a fan of Microsoft. He's doing things that will truly make a difference that nobody else wants to pay for. We make such a hero out of somebody that runs into a burning building to save one person. Bill Gates is bank rolling malaria vaccines that might save 400,000 lives a year. What does that make him? A saint at the least.
Zuck should go back to building his internet satellites, that's a lot better use of his billions than some kind of fairy land curated "safe space" for SJW's to hang out in.
As barriers to communication and travel continue to diminish over time, cultural diffusion will naturally increase, leading toward the major differences being smoothed over. We will become well acquainted.
Eventually, we will reach some point of "globalism saturation". But it seems to me that, currently, there is plenty of opportunity for continued melding of cultures and people groups. This is a natural process that is unfolding, an emergent dynamic resulting from our social nature and changing technological context.
We've barely begun, especially when considering future tech advances that will further reduce many of the artificial, anachronistic barriers between people groups. Most large differences in culture are just accidents of history and distance, not fixed, immovable characteristics.
Of course, we shouldn't blindly proceed. New, important concerns will spring up as the world gets smaller. Surveillance is one obvious example. There will be many more, and we will have to remain vigilant.
Not a fan of Facebook in the least, but I find this to be a rather ironic postscript to a (rightly) critical post about Zuck's privilege.
I think the HN community have discussed at great lengths and even Veritasium's video have talked about some of the things they like to do when Wall Street is watching.
So my question is, why? Why show one side to the world and the other a very different treatment one that must appease Wall Street?
I get that public companies are on the line when it comes to Wall Street but if a company that is supposedly almost as valuable as Google but unable to print cash like Google, does it not make sense that Facebook will be overly aggressive and downright questionable when it comes to strategies to maximize it's user base which it heavily relies on for it's current valuation?
This is the vibe I'm getting whenever I read something Mark writes. No credibility that matches my standards which other tech giant easily passes.
Just take a look at TWTR. Investors are signaling they are increasingly anxious to see more cash and sooner. TWTR looks like the first to go and as global risk premium increases so do the continued viability of FB against cash rich giants like Google & Microsoft.
I'm going to do some research on FB and see if there's any shorting opportunities. If TWTR can crash and burn, there's nothing stopping FB which operates on the same business model of building an audience first before seriously monetizing it.
I'd love it if somebody could offer more insights or even correct me, but I can't shake the feeling, Facebook is in serious trouble as reflected in their strange policies recently, especially around Fake News and trying to enter an attricious battle in China.
Why would FB keep doing what they were doing 10 years ago if they have money printing machine like Google Adwords? I don't think they'll figure it out in time.
It also seems like they don't make it clear where these revenues are coming from.
Apart from large brands, I wonder how effective FB ad campaigns are. How do you measure ROI and attribute it to FB ad campaigns?
I feel like this is Nielsen ratings all over again on a dwindling platform. Inaccessible to rest but large brands with money to splash around. Google Adwords seem more comprehensive and diversified. $4.5 USD per FB user is ridiculous in my opinion. FB users aren't looking at Ads unless they are forced to. Google users want highly relevant ads. This discrepancy explains the CTR between the two...yet FB is considered right up there with Google...it just doesn't make sense.
"On our journey to connect the world"
+ By which he means 'take over the world'
"Our greatest challenges also need global responses -- like ending terrorism, fighting climate change, and preventing pandemics. "
+ Virtue signalling and false altruism, associating his brand with highly moral causes with which Facebook has no material connection.
"Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community"
+ By 'coming together' he means turning the world into a globalized, culturally secularized and homogenized suburb as like the faux-facades and fake architecture of the building he is standing right in front of. Rhetorical question: Why does the Silicon Valley not have 'it's own' kind of identifiable architecture? Because the answer to that question is telling.
On this point, we can forgive him a little. Ironically, the soft message of 'diversity' from these folks - often hails from a positive motivation (i.e. 'equality and inclusion') - but it ultimately implies 'diversity of skin tone and of last names', but otherwise a total homogenization of cultural norms, values and ideas. Even language, local customs, laws, food and architecture.
When the entire world live across the street from a Starbucks, drives a Honda, and communicates in a manner sanctified by the thought-monitors at Facebook - I'd argue the world will be less diverse, less resilient, less interesting - and less human - place to live.
"Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization"
+ Wonders the man who has personal wealth equivalent to entire African nations.
"withdrawing from global connection."
+ I'd argue some are withdrawing from your imposed social order of homogenized 'Utopia', for what they see as regaining some degree of self identity, self expression, and dignity.
" In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us. "
+ A serious degree of assumption: most of the people in the world have a very different view of what 'works' than the global elite - who's values he shares. What happens when people are 'given a voice' and they want something completely different than your specific vision of cohesion?
Without getting into 'pro' or 'anti' European Union arguments - if it were put to a popular referendum - the EU would fail immediately because people in just a few key nations would vote against it. In France, anti-EU sentiment runs at 60% - a full 10% points higher than in the UK before Brexit (though this doesn't necessarily imply they would vote to leave - its's a pretty negative sign). It's almost 50% in Germany. And it's growing.
The people of France voted against the treaty of Rome - and yet it was enacted by their government. Ditto in Netherlands and Ireland.
Ironically - it's through Facebook and social media that people are voicing their antagonism towards many globalist causes, that seem to be 'out of touch' with the will of citizens.
I'm not making an argument for or against anything - I'm pointing out that many of these 'let's come together' globalist voices have personal views which are totally inconsistent with most others - and they seem to be keen on projecting those views in an authoritative manner.
"How do we help people build supportive communities that strengthen traditional institutions"
+ By turning off Facebook, and turning on to life?
I like Mark Zuckerberg, and having nothing against Facebook, but I wish they would stop with this rubbish and let people be - and accept that 'the true will of the people' in many ways will be inconsistent with that of the leaders of such globalist institutions.