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[flagged] Zuckerberg Gives Public an Indication How He Lives in an Alternative Reality (medium.com)
52 points by 6stringmerc on Feb 17, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments

The author, despite an intentionally abrasive tone, nails the analysis. Facebook could literally disappear tomorrow, and the world would keep going. It's only power is it's network effect. A thousand networks (more local and more useful) would spring up in it's place if it kicked the bucket.

The world would keep going, but it would be very damaged. Millions of peoples memories and photos would disappear and millions of connections between people would be permanently severed.

That cute girl you hooked up with in Thailand that said she'd message you when she's visiting SF: gone. The cousin you really get along with that you never see anymore since her father passed away: no more casual reminders she exists. No more university friends.

There's such arrogance on HN about Facebook but it makes a bigger difference to ordinary people's lives than any other website.

There are challenges, but what do you expect Zuckerberg to do? Let fake news and bullshit, unchecked viral opinions go wild? The smart people are leaving the small towns for the cities and it's destroying the ability for smaller communities to make sense of the world. We need a way of protecting fake news and propaganda from spreading through our social networks.

The Facebook isn't run by some scheming cabal of evildoers.

If facebook disappeared (tomorrow or whenever) people will find alternative ways to keep in touch. That is, you will probably have less people of which see the occasional holiday pictures, but in my experience (by quitting facebook), the number of core friends has not changed. Because let's face it, as Sherry Turkle wrote[1], with facebook, we have moved from friendship to a "sense of frienship".

I don't doubt that facebook provides some value, but I don't think that value is a sane relation to what we sacrifice as humans.

1. http://www.reclaimingconversationbook.com/

I stopped using Facebook. I had a lot of people who I've not seen in a long time there. Frankly, if you asked, I could not remember one personal thing I got from their stream.

On the other hand, I do have lots of nice memories of actual physical meetings with people.

My conclusion based on my biased data set is that the value Facebook brings is ephemeral at best when laid against the skein of real world experiences.

My life is not a stream of posts on third party servers.

I've had the complete opposite. I deleted Facebook after they outed a gay friend of mine to his religious parents when they made groups public, but I came back after 5 years without it and I'm invited to far more events and I keep in touch with people from other cities way better. I'm not the type to just randomly text someone I met while visiting a different city, but I'll like a post or leave a comment. Keeping the relationship alive until I'm there next.

Wow, it's almost like people never had ways of communicating before facebook...

I bet people said the same thing about the telephone.

All that demonstrates is that a proprietary, non backed up, non distributed address book is fault intolerant.

> No more university friends.

??? Do you not have phone numbers for your friends?

I'm 31. Almost all of us are in different cities or countries. Facebook is the only place I see the majority of them.

Not really your friends then.... People you only see on facebook aren't friends.

I didn't realize someone on the Internet named 'gjjrfcbugxbhf' held the keys to the definition of friendship.

Yep I've got the answer to life the universe and everything here as well :p

pffft I severed all that stuff and felt better for it.

Yeah I'm really put off by overly optimistic tone and let the pendulum swing pretty hard the other way. I slept on it first though. Knee-jerk reaction, upon reflection, felt worth scribbling out in my own way. No objection to your note of the tone, you're right and I'll acknowledge it.

Facebook is powerful. A thousand disparate networks would not have the same potential for global change and community.

I am not a huge Facebook fan, but Zuck is right about that much. That potential could be squandered or worse. Right now Facebook is still largely a toy but that potential is there.

"A thousand disparate networks would not have the same potential for global change and community."

But Facebook is exactly that - thousand disparate bubbles. People are connected only to items they are analyzed to care about beforehand. If something irks them, rather than coolly analyze it, people get offended and react - often en masse - which triggers the social media rages.

The biggest issue with all of this: We as a socity should work together and decide together.

Zuckerberg became massive rich through 'zeitgeist' being the first at something obvious.

Now he has so much power which shouldn't be in his hands.

We can only hope that states and countries are using the power to reduce his power over our socity.

And yeah fb is overrated. Its just another tool. It feels already super stupid when facebook whishes me a nice birthday or a good morning. Wtf go away...

FB, despite their acquisitions to stay relevant, will follow Friendster, MySpace, and the others. Something will come along to knock them off their perch.

I left FB (and social media in general) 4-5 years ago. I haven't missed any of it. My hope is that people will start swinging away from the frivolous noise of most social media. It provides a valuable service but the vast majority of it is garbage.

I have been long FB stock since the IPO and have also made a lot of money, but also agree he has maybe too much power.

Zuck was the first to make social networking work, by getting rid of all the stuff that made earlier networks fail, and also adding new features.

I had to stop reading, the negativity in the article drove me away. The bad online communities he references, in my experience, are usually not the ones that are built on top of real-world communities and relationships. That is not to say that all of the ones that are online-only are bad... just that communities online that reflect real-world communities seem to work pretty well from what I've seen. Anyway, I can't really claim to fully understand the author's point, since I couldn't bring myself to read the whole thing.

Right, because building something online eventually changes the dynamic. Just pick a big "Community" and do some digging - YouTube Comment Section - Reddit - 4Chan - Twitter. There's not a single online community that is inherently positive or constructive without extensive, heavy-handed moderation.

If you get to the end, you'll see that Zuckerberg thinks that Facebook can AI moderate away shitty behavior. Look closely, that's a fundamental claim. Yet, at the end of the day, he's running a business, not a Non-Profit Human Welfare Organization, right?

You miss the point. Where's the offline part of the YouTube comment section? My kid's kindergarten class has an FB page that is very important to how the class functions day to day. Sure you could code up a replacement but it wouldn't be nearly as easy to use as jus having everyone on FB. And it's great. And it really does strengthen and deepen the offline community. Same for the FB page for my grad school alumni. A massive positive contribution where people solicit opinions from literally all over the world and have meaningful discussions.

I don't disagree that YT comments are just a cesspool. But how is that Zuck's fault?

> My kid's kindergarten class has an FB page that is very important to how the class functions day to day.

This sends chills down my spine, because we're selling out kids to the same Surveillance-Industrial complex we sold out to before they even get a choice in the matter.

>> My kid's kindergarten class has an FB page that is very important to how the class functions day to day.

> This sends chills down my spine, because we're selling out kids to the same Surveillance-Industrial complex we sold out to before they even get a choice in the matter.

Absolutely! I don't understand how people are just letting this happen or even promoting it. I see Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and such - all used to share sensitive information about children - fundamentally making it impossible for the children to reverse the effects of these actions when they're adults. I'd rather prefer an email group to these mechanisms. Or they might as well put everything on Twitter in public view to avoid any pretense of having private communications. I'm far too focused on privacy to consider any benefits as outweighing the dangers and damages.

And forcing everyone else by ultimatum. Facebook needs to go, period. It's too convenient, and we're too much into convenience to figure our way out of the mess collectively.

Yes, thank you, that was my point... when online communities are connected to real-world communities, the atmosphere of the online communities are usually better. I'm not sure how the person above missed that, since I said it twice. I brought that up because Zuck was talking about facebook being used to help real-world communities... like your kid's kindergarten class... and my neighbourhood watch group.

So your kids kindergarten forces parents and children to join an advertising data collection tool? Fuck them for doing that to the children.

Zuck has set his eyes on the presidency, this is all going to lead to his announcement in 2 years.

Who would vote for him? He's seems like a person that people all over the political specturm absolutely detest.

Why does he invoke hated but the late Walt Disney (which Disneyland is just as memorable) does not.

People will vote for him because he's pragmatic, similar to Gore and Clinton . The nominee of either side gets at least 45% of the vote , so it comes down to undecideds

I'm hearing this a lot lately. But Zuckerberg already has more power, status and money than he would ever get as president. Not to mention the disruption to his business and charity work right in the prime of his life. It just doesn't make sense to me. What's his supposed motivation?

I think the charity is just a tax shelter though..that's what I read , but could be wrong

Being the US president is something that only 30 or so people in the past 240 years have done , so that does say a lot. Being president of the US would boost visibility of Facebook, possibly change legislation in his favor, etc.

I actually get the impression he's got the presidency on his mind as well but he won't be running in 2020. Even if he wanted to, he won't be old enough.

May birthday, so yes, he would. You can't be inaugurated under 35, but he'll be more than halfway to 36. That said, while legally old enough, I'm not sure if people would vote for someone that young. Youngest to date was the first Roosevelt (42). Youngest elected was Kennedy (43). Youngest veep was Breckenridge (36), I think.

Ah, good point, my mistake. And yeah, definitely agreed regarding voter hesitancy to elect someone his age.

It does seem like Trump has probably broken the mold permanently, in terms of the type of background one needs to become president.

I think it was a wake-up call for guys like Zuck, Mark Cuban, etc who desire influence but had never seriously considered running for president as a viable option.

Author: I don't use Twitter and wouldn't want to share this on Facebook either (and make it a little bit more money), but I really enjoyed reading this article! :) I wish I could've written something like this with my deep dislike of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and where they're leading humanity to.

> If Zuckerberg shut down Facebook for a month, he’d have a more positive impact Building Global Community than any of the high-minded things he wrote out.

Actually, if this were to happen (certainly not because Zuckerberg wants it to), people would suddenly find time to be more productive, to engage in things they've been putting off and find ways to get in touch with others through less-noisy channels (with a little more intimacy, perhaps). For all its merits, Facebook has turned into a place to navel gaze, pat each other in echo chambers, and shout out things to everyone else to get some reactions (likes and others).

I agree with this and don't use Facebook.

Monitoring my own misgivings however I've noticed that there is a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater ...

So much of our most trenchant criticisms of Facebook stem from how it's an illusion and that's not rooted in reality. Zuckerberg seems to be trying to reattach its moorings, talking about these real-world communities that give us a sense of purpose and meaning and that Facebook complements rather than replaces or distorts.

Unfortunately his status as a billionaire undermines this argument. We're intellectually (if not actually) very skeptical of illusions (e.g. Plato's allegory of the cave) and view his net-worth being directly proportional to his malign influence in our society, pulling the wool over our eyes with an addictive illusion while voraciously funneling our private information into vast data-centers where AI is trained to new heights of persuasiveness...

But I think it is possible to rehabilitate Facebook's illusory component and get something useful out of it. After all it has been instrumental in some major movements across the globe, including the election of Trump and subsequent protests.

I've written about it here: https://iainmait.land/posts/20170201-transitional-object.htm...

It's a bit like MZ's approach ... while also acknowledging OP's final point, that Facebook will never willingly optimize for dis-engagement.

And people are surprised by this?


Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don't know why.

Zuck: They "trust me"

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

I trust that Zuck has grown up a bit since then.

> I trust that Zuck has grown up a bit since then.

I used to think this a few years ago and consider that he might have changed (I wanted to believe this more so after his daughter was born). But I don't think it's true. He's very much the same person who said those things years ago, except that he's super rich now and has a lot more control over things.

Yes - wealth, fame, and power have surely made him a more considerate and humble individual.

There's nothing in there that's remotely relevant these days, all ego bullshit, marketing and conditioning. Any one who's not forced or numbed has already fled the sinking ship. Zucker needs to find a new hobby; who knows, maybe this one will be the one that actually makes a positive difference...

@dang (or other mods, I think there are some): I admit I don't know exactly how flagging works here, but this is the first article I've seen that wasn't flagarent abuse/spam that has been flagged. Can you please provide a reason for the flagging or unflag?

Thank you.

I feel like Medium doesn't even publish articles unless you use foul language.

I mean, I'm all for it. But it just feels like Medium writers are trying too hard.

Well there are about 20 other articles I've written that have a far lower amount of cussing, and none of my screenplays have a single swear word in them, so I guess I'm showing my Gonzo stripe a little hard.

If you aren't instantly put off by the corn syrup tone of Zuckerberg's piece then you're also missing out on a useful cynicism trigger.

Oh come on... he's just setting up the chess board to run for the US presidency in 20 years. Give him space to do it

>Aww look at the cute little English language acrobatics to call “disgusting” or “outright stupid” or “garbage” viewpoints “diverse.”

Translation - these are adjectives I use to describe any viewpoint that differes from my own.

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