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[flagged] “Today, I submitted my resignation to Facebook” (linkedin.com)
235 points by aaronbrethorst 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 299 comments



Facebook is apparently currently having an all-hands that is not going well:

> have to say, from what me, @sheeraf and @ceciliakang are hearing....this is not going over super well.

> Zuckerberg spent probably 20-30 minutes delivering his reasons for the post staying up. now taking pointed and heated questions from employees directly

https://twitter.com/MikeIsaac/status/1267894523700457472


Disclosure that I work @ FB.

Mark's point was that the post did not break the policies the platform has and he explained in thorough detail why he believed this was the case. The Floyd video was an example of how one policy can be used for good while acknowledging it can also used for bad. I don't disagree that we should ignore our policies because someone posted something we did not like.

For what it's worth, he addressed that some policies do need work and change - specifically the ones about voting, elections, and misleading statements about these.


So, the president can call for military action against American citizens, inside the borders of the United States, in direct contravention of US law (the Posse Comitatus Act), and that's okay? Because you're making it sound like that's totally okay, and I think that adds up to a tiny bit more than "someone posted something we did not like".

edit: 'oarabbus_ is right, as far as I can tell, about the Insurrection Act. Even if they weren't, I suppose it'd be foolish to imagine that the US presidency in 2020 is restrained by mere legislation, save to the extent to which it permits itself to be.


To be clear, I 100% disagree with any use of military action within the States against American citizens.

That being said, what you are saying isn't true. Exceptions to Posse Comitatus include "Federal troops used in accordance to the Insurrection Act, as was the case with the 1st Marine Division and 7th Infantry Division being sent to curtail the 1992 Los Angeles riots."

Should it be illegal for the President to send troops against citizens to restore order? Perhaps, yes. Is it illegal? Certainly not.


To be clear, the 1992 Los Angeles rights invoked the Insurrection act AT THE REQUEST of the state which is markedly different than Trump's proposal.

The more direct example of invoking the act in spite of opposition from states would be the enforcement of federal law law during the Civil Rights era.

Two good explainers on this:

https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jun/02/can-donald-tr...

https://time.com/5846649/insurrection-act-1807-donald-trump/


What you're describing does not sound like Facebook's jurisdiction.


Facebook isn't a court and thus has no jurisdiction.


Right, Facebook is not a court, police force, or anything else with legal jurisdiction. Assuming the problem is that Trump is issuing an orders to the military that are illegal, that's not a problem that Facebook can police. The President can likely find another means of issuing illegal military orders that bypasses Facebook.


> that's not a problem that Facebook can police.

Why not? They sure do an amazing job making sure you don't see any female nipples.

Female nipples = Block at all costs and ban users

Incite violence = We're powerless. We won't do anything.


Except that there are laws against showing nipples to minors. There is no law about showing an (even unlawful) presidential order to the public.


Reddit and numerous other sites have no issue displaying nipples (and more) with nothing more than a “are you over 18” modal. If any of those sites start running afoul of law enforcement you might have a point.


Is the military receiving its orders via Facebook now? That WOULD be newsworthy.


Dont be silly, they use twitter.


> So, the president can call for military action against American citizens, inside the borders of the United States, in direct contravention of US law (the Posse Comitatus Act), and that's okay?

Deciding not to talk about something or not to restrict hosting certain posts is not the same thing as thinking they are ok.


So the president, MOVES military against American Citizens and we're all like???? Why is this happening??? That's why information is powerful. I'd personally rather people get mad that he said it and he then does nothing than for him to take action.

Yes, this information needs to stay out there. Stay informed. If this was some troll suggesting Trump move the military against the US, I could see you saying that should be pulled down.

This is the president, as much as I fucking hate him I want to know everything he says. Not because I agree but because to not know what he's saying handicaps my ability to mobilize against tyranny before it happens.


I don't give Facebook's executives the benefit of the doubt in thinking that's why they're leaving it up, but I'd have a very hard time arguing that you're wrong.


I can't really argue with you there. This is one of those situations where the path paved to hell is paved with good intentions in my mind. I don't want Trump saying shit like this, but if any government official is saying something shitty I want to know.


Twitter put a big sticker on it. FB could do the same. Put it behind a click-this-to-see-bad-stuff warning thing. Provide context, etc. The option is not a binary between completely hide/silence/ignore the "most powerful man in the world" or support and just enable him even more.


I can get behind this but then that specific content wouldn't fall under section 230. IANAL I'm not sure I'll let them fight over it.

But if you as a platform control the content you are responsible for the content you publish. Which should be ok right? If it's fact checking and you get sued and the facts are correct, no problem. Well other than all the money you lose, but that's something we need to fix about suing people.


Prior to hearing what he had to answer, I'd like to applaud Mark for daring to speak and argue directly about the heated matters.


He runs the company? It is not brave to talk to people you are paying to do a job.


On the contrary, when you're paying people to do a job, explaining why you've decided a certain way is not your obligation. And when the people you're paying are software engineers, you're unfortunately inviting verbal abuse. (This should change.)

[Obligatory disclaimer that I don't approve of everything he does]


> when you're paying people to do a job, explaining why you've decided a certain way is not your obligation.

Isn’t this at odds with your tagline:

HowTruthful helps you make better evidence-based decisions, and helps you communicate opinions effectively.

Communicate opinions effectively, unless you’re paying someone to enact your opinions, in which case fuck them.


I'm not saying using HowTruthful is an obligation either. It's a good thing to choose to do.


His responses will have ramifications for the Facebook investors, including himself. Also, for his very public image.


He is insincere so any conversation he has is meaningless. For everyone including Mark Zuckerberg look at what they do not what they say.


I believe this is a common problem, but >99% people never get any scrutiny.


How is it possible to be very certain that he is in fact insincere?


Am I considered cynical if I believe the actual motivation for leaving these posts up are financial?

What I mean is that the amount of clicks and interaction they generate can't be pocket-change I think.


It makes one wonder the conservative to liberal ratio of Facebook's user base.


Isn't FB's user base about half the World's population. I don't think it's selected along political lines, more likely the recent use profile is politically biased because of different politics across age-groups. Though if you're mixing in Insta', then the effect will be reduced.

Frecency of engagement with particular content producers on such platforms might tell you something useful though.


To be an ad salesman usually requires the gift of the gab. Young Zuck happened upon an idea at the right time and place and couldn't believe people would give him their data. He's been sliding since then.


What post is that about?


This is why large social media platforms need to have their hands tied when it comes to free speech. They either have it or they don't. This kind of back and forth where they claim to support free speech, but any time somebody says something they don't like it becomes "an issue that must be addressed" needs to stop. The end result of this is that some people's speech is free, but others' isn't. Either you have free speech for everyone or you just don't have free speech.

I do applaud him for standing up for his convictions.


    > Either you have free speech for everyone 
    > or you just don't have free speech.
This would be a platitude except it's untrue, so it's more of an empty falsehood. American law already places restrictions on speech:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions
Aside from that, your comment implies that a private company should have no say over which people (and organizations, racist groups, terror cells, criminal gangs, etc) it bankrolls.

Even if I valued "free speech on the internet" as highly today as I did a decade ago, that speech includes the liberty of a company to choose its TOS and not pay to host content that goes against them.

Finally, my "high order bit" these days, when it comes to internet speech, is for humanity to survive. When Patrick Henry said "give me liberty or give me death!" the internet didn't even exist. My version is "give me liberty AFK or give me death!"


Should I surmise that you don't believe liberty in online engagements should be protected at all.

Freedom to speak in the high-street (ie IRL/AFK public arenas) is all well and good but what if everyone else is speaking in the pseudo-public online spaces and a company has excluded you from those spaces.

Don't we need a legal framework that respects cyberspace as more than just the domain of company mores, that allows democratic standards to govern principal online meeting spaces?


This is an oversimplification and not the point.

I don't mind reasonable limitations on speech - the point is that I don't want an oligopoly of corporations to be the judges of what is allowed.

It should be an elected body, or no restrictions at all.

The only reason anyone thinks these censorship rulings are a good idea is because they haven't been censored themselves (yet).


There is no free speech on private social media platforms


There can be. There's no legal right to free speech on social media platforms, but a platform can (and I'll argue should) support free speech.

I think if a platform wants to not support free speech, that's a fair choice to make, but as a user I want them to communicate that in abundance. I don't expect the Disney Club to support sex workers describing their autobiographies, but I would expect them to not pretend they are a bastion of free speech or a platform for the world.


FB is clearly not being free speech - they remove posts all the time for the most variety of reasons, the most begnin of which being female nipples


There's a specific law about showing female nipples to minors - so that's a terrible example.


For that to work it needs to be one person one profile with real identities. No bots.


To be anonymous is necessary for free speech. You should never confuse social media for the public opinion.


What we have now is a DDOS on free speech. How to solve it?


A DDOS is an attack because it removes resources. Other people having opinions that disagree with yours isn't removing resources from you.

Whether it's newspapers or a town square, there have always been people who have been loud. Loud does not mean right. It also doesn't mean you need to muzzle the people who are loud.


1 person can be millions of people online. Based on your response I don’t get the perception you understand the gravity of the problem we are facing.


Who is we? And why is that a problem?


"One person, one vote." There's probably an analogous argument to be made regarding speech online, ie. "one person, one account on platforms critical to democratic discourse".

I agree with you that anonymity is important too though.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure data came from an original source without actually disclosing that source's actual identity.

This will probably require considerable mobilization of tech companies, governments, and citizens, but I think democracy and free speech online is important enough to warrant the effort.


and then perhaps only one comment per user per day - because some users may be more vocal than others, right ?

How about no ? Voting and Speech are separate issues, lets' not confound them


There is no conflation. "One person one vote" was a principle formulated to ensure the will of the people is known, and that entrenched powerful interests cannot undermine this will by having more voting power than the average person.

"One person, one voice/account" has a similar rationale behind it. Technology is a force multiplier. The human mind gives more credence to things they hear/see repeatedly and from multiple different sources. This is a somewhat robust heuristic only when they are actually different sources. The "powerful interests" here are those with the knowledge to broadcast their message widely under multiple different aliases. This is why social media is such a problem.

If a particular platform is shown to be important to democratic discourse, there's a compelling argument that that platform should have rules ensuring the authenticity of the people's voice.


Facebook can verify identities and keep you outwardly anonymous.


That might be easier to do with a national ID system, and maybe a government ID attestation service... just to be thorough.


Why? We have sufficient ways to ID.


But the platforms are pretending there is. Not necessarily overtly, but implicitly in their guidance they give to Wall Street. If Facebook explicitly came out and said "Facebook - Where You Can Share Any Silicon-Valley-Liberal Approved Viewpoint And Not Much Else" they'd have to accompany that with guidance indicating future shrinkage.

I realize a lot of people here in the bubble may not realize this, but it's not "the entire world minus some weirdos in my country" that don't fit into that. It's most of the world, except some of the US and some of Europe and misc folk elsewhere that add up to much less than those two. You can't both actively enforce this ideology that perhaps 10% of the world agrees to while projecting growth into the 75% range.

The President was elected by a lot of people who currently have Facebook accounts, and a lot of them are still planning to vote for him again. If you declare that political viewpoint verboten, well, let's just say you're probably going to get a lot more significantly less "voluntary" resignations from Facebook once the money stops coming in because the eyeballs left.


Where do you gather FB wants to ban Trump voters?

The way people twist this is entertaining.


But there could be. And there should be.


Why? If I'm running a platform, I would run it with my personal values which might or might not be the same as what's considered moral or right by the eyes of law. As long as my values are not directly illegal, I won't compromise on the values nor let anyone else use my product or platform for that.

I think it should be allowed to take a moral stand, which is why your freedom of speech has nothing to do with social media and I'm glad about it as well.


IMO, if your platform grows past a certain scale, it should be treated as common carrier and you shouldn't be allowed to do that.

I wonder what happened to antitrust law enforcement in USA.


Corporate monopolies over the discourse. Though it wouldn't be "the government", why would should the massive power of a $billion/trillion corporations have no check?

What recourse does the average citizen have to abuse from these entities? Think of all the ways Google or Facebook could screw you over or even shape the social/political narrative. This should be a free-for-all?

"Just build your own global social platform"... yea, not possible. In the mean time, they can abuse their power while you get up and running, or never do.

Think of it another way. If the government is constrained, but massive corporations (who pay off politicians) aren't, doesn't this clearly seem an end-around for "government" to encourage private companies to do the censorship they want, enact favorable policies for them in return, and the powerless individual, or small groups suffer similar consequences as if the government themselves censored them? It's an easy hack for the 1st amendment.


Why is it not possible? New platforms are started and grow all the time. For example, TikTok only came out in 2016 and is massive.


maybe the network effect on a billion-person scale? the fact that they are monopolies with billions at their disposal to acquire or crush any competition? I can keep going


Should you be allowed to publish whatever you want in NYTimes because it has broad reach?


Sorry but it's not so simple. If you follow that line of logic, should an owner of a restaurant be able to discriminate (race, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.) against customers, based on their "personal values"? This line of thought leads right back to the era of segregation.


You already cannot discriminate against a customer because of certain characteristics of who they are (race, orientation, etc). You can however kick someone out of your restaurant for what they say, how they act, or what they do, similar to being banned or fact checked on private social media platforms.


> "You already cannot discriminate against a customer because of certain characteristics of who they are (race, orientation, etc)."

Those laws are relatively recent. By your very own argument, doing all those things was perfectly A-OK before the laws that barred discrimination went into place. Oops.


You could allow Nazis at your personal house party also.

It is legal, due to the first amendment, but it sure does say a lot about you as a person.


This discussion always goes in circles.

Usually when people are talking about Twitter endorsing free speech, they are not asking for a law, but moreso asking Twitter to do so out of principle.

I don't like these arguments because they seem to end up revolving around one's interpretation of 'free speech' when both sides are really in agreement.


Free speech wasn't created by the US government.


The supreme court in [Marsh v. Alabama](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_v._Alabama) disagrees.


Marsh v. Alabama is not relevant in this case, so says the Supreme court https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Community_Access_Cor...


There absolutely should be as a matter of principle to avoid problems like this.


Civil rights apply to private companies, so why not free speech?


No one can define what "free speech" really is in clear, unbiased terms. China and the USA have vastly different interpretations of free speech. Which do you engineer your platform to support?

Will you continue to use moderators? If speech is truly free, there will be no need for content moderators. And yet as technologists we know that as soon as moderators stop doing their job, a significant amount of questionable or uncomfortable type of content will come in.

Whereas civil rights have a basic coalition of countries that support a finite number of things to protect, namely protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, age, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, and disability;


Pornography is protected speech under the first amendment. Facebook ban it. Should they be forced to host it and not filter it at all?


After all the shitty things facebook did in the whole world, inducing depression, suicidal behaviors for the most fragile etc... this person resigns because the CEO refused to censor the elected POTUS. I have a hard time to figure what's going on in his head, and how he thinks it's helping democraty.


Now that you say it that way, that is actually a pretty good point.

He was fine with Facebook breaking users privacy, aggregating data, spying on users over smartphone mics, but a Tweet cuts the line?

Admirable of him, but I have a pretty big feeling that although he is working(ed) at Facebook, he is quite green for the real world.


It's one single employee at Facebook. He probably left for other reasons, but just wanted his 5 minutes of internet fame.

The only reason this made it up on HN is because people have an emotional hatred for FB.


Not using Facebook is a choice. Not that easy if many relatives and friends use it, but it's a lot easier than opting out of politics - because politics has a greater effect on people's lives than FB having more or even more data.


> I have a hard time to figure what's going on in his head, and how he thinks it's helping democraty.

Interesting. I have a hard time understanding out how it could be any clearer.


> Interesting. I have a hard time understanding out how it could be any clearer.

Sure, censor POTUS so when the tanks roll in, people have no idea what's going on.

I think it's pretty clear that your national leader should never be censored because the people he's governing have an absolute right to know every single thing he says.


Right. He has no other avenues of communication available...

Even TV stations have to cut away from his nonsense, should that be illegal?


So your argument is that this isn't a big deal because POTUS has other communication media available, but then proceed to immediately contradict yourself by saying that those media also censor POTUS.

Whether this should be a legal requirement, I can't say. But it does seem pretty clear that if POTUS is speaking to the public, the public should be able to hear the message if they choose, regardless of whether you personally dislike the message or POTUS.


> …the public should be able to hear the message if they choose, regardless of whether you personally dislike the message or POTUS.

Ours is a capitalist democracy. It's meaningless whether people "dislike" the message or the messenger, at least until it affects audience or advertisers.


Maybe it should be, but the very fact that we're discussing whether social media companies should be censoring their elected president demonstrates that it's not meaningless.


It's not a function of what facebook did or did not do, but a function of how we judge people working for facebook.

It's pretty easy to close your eyes about a shitty thing your company might be doing, because for your personnally staying is a good deal.

It's much harder to do when everyone else is judging you about it.

This is not a stab at the person than resigned, I think this is a normal human behavior, we are pretty egoistic creatures.


Better late than never.


Perhaps they didn't work for the department of depression induction.


We live in such cynical times that instead of simply applauding someone for doing the right thing they are either accused of virtue signalling or criticized for having associated with people before it was totally apparent what their moral stances were.


I've really come to be annoyed with the whole "virtue signaling" debate. What this guy did is virtue signaling but he signaled virtue by actually taking substantive action at some cost to himself. In this case the signal actually represents something real. The issue with virtue signaling that is objectionable is when it is done to avoid taking meaningful action.


The fact that he took action made it NOT `virtue signaling`.

There is no debate here, only wrong definitions of terms being used.


I guess it's semantics but I would argue that writing a LinkedIn post is what would constitute the virtue signaling. But there's nothing wrong with that. It's a signal, but a signal of actual substantive action. It's akin to putting out a press release after passing legislation. The press release is a signal but you still did the actual thing that matters.


What took place was people attempting to deflect and slander because the action he took made their position look bad. If you can't defend your message, attack the messenger.


“Virtue signaling” is only a pejorative when it describes an action that has no cost and no benefit. Running into a burning building to save a person isn’t “virtue signaling” even if it does signal virtue.


Trump was virtue signaling when he gassed protesters and held up a bible.


What was the cost to himself? He clearly has the experience to obtain a similarly compensated job, and if the post achieved what would be its 'virtuous' goal of large exposure, it would be done so on a short timeline no less (a recruiter from Microsoft has already reached out).


Not everyone (me included) believes the censorship he's calling for is the right thing.


Great. People are allowed to disagree. He should be applauded though for actually putting his money where his mouth is.


Facebook already censors. They already make editorial decisions regarding content. For example, content of a sexual nature is completely banned and gets you blocked on the platform.

Racism and inciting violence get a pass, but post a woman breast feeding? You're gone in a flash.

The free speech argument has no weight because Facebook already doesn't respect it.


Let's just be a bit careful with nomenclature here - when a private company doesn't print or publish or promote certain messages, that's not censorship. (Let alone when they carry it, but add a link.)

I'm also against censorship.

"Deplatforming" or something similar might be more appropriate here.


I really worry about where this is going. I think about Howard Stern moving over to Sirius satellite radio - as quaint as it seems in today's climate, he was at least as controversial (although in command of fewer armies) as Donald Trump is. The people who hated him then hated him as much, if not more, than the people who hate Donald Trump do now. I imagine some people quit Sirius in protest, but for the most part, people separated their own preferences from their jobs AND accepted that just because somebody isn't their own cup of tea doesn't mean that they shouldn't be anybody's cup of tea. This ideological purity test has me worried, though - I can easily imagine that the Trump-haters will view anybody who stayed at FB and opposed arbitrary censorship in an "if you're not with us, you're against us" way and blacklist ex-FB employees for not joining this guy. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but that seems to be what a disturbing number of people are hoping for.


bad analogy. trump has far, far greater power than any talk show host and is advocating violence against americans.


What do you think is the right thing?


Do you have a better solution? And are you aware that no action means people will die and global economy as a whole might crumble?


Without censorship, people will die and the global economy might crumble? Seems like a very odd conclusion. Besides, the global economy in its current form is completely unsustainable.

I understand the importance of racial justice, but are you saying somehow the global economy (I read that as multinational capitalism) is some vanguard of this principle?


If someone is actively coordinating to an end that will result in people dying, should you not censor? Why have a mechanism to censor to begin with?

> I understand the importance of racial justice, but are you saying somehow the global economy (I read that as multinational capitalism) is some vanguard of this principle?

This has nothing to do with racial justice. Continued unrest, rioting,etc... Will enable a steeper curve for the 2nd wave of Corona. No bailout or any government measure will help. The US economy will not collapse by itself, jusr like in 2008 it will affect the global economy. This is the 11th hour! Facebook is enabling all this. I understand if they had an unmoderated platform, but they moderate plenty! In the end the consequence is something you must acknowledge at least as a possibility when saying "censor things but not nazis and race war propaganda"

This isn't about censorship,it's about policy. Do you also oppose fact checking? FB does!!

> Besides, the global economy in its current form is completely unsustainable.

So we should let it collapse? And how many wars and famine should be tolerated? I am all for change but not the "watch the world burn" kind of change.

P.S.: Please lookup the meetings between Zuckerberg and republican leadership this year. This is strictly about politics,not censorship.


Folks without virtue accuse people of "virtue signalling" as if virtue were a bad thing. These folks would call MLK a social justice warrior engaged in "virtue signalling".


Yes, the phrase "virtue signalling" is deeply cynical. Are there people who adopt a cause for aesthetics or social status rather than deeply felt convictions? Sure. But seldom is this slur applied to anyone because someone has done a behavioral study to determine the person insulted is feigning morality. And even if they are, if they are aping good behavior with desirable consequences, why insult them? The people calling others "social justice warriors" are doing even less.


oh come on like you haven't seen people who jump on the bandwagon who don't give a shit about the actual issue(s) and are just there to score some PR points. Never happens.

No idea if this applies to the parent topic, but denying that virtue signalling exists is very strange.


> But seldom is this slur applied to anyone because someone has done a behavioral study to determine the person insulted is feigning morality.

Your parent isn't denying that the term should exist, only saying that the people who most frequently use it are just slinging a pejorative without knowing if the person is offline-virtuous or just online-conspicuous-virtuous.


Yeah. That isn't what I meant. Thanks for your careful, good-faith argument, though.


Virtue signalling costs nothing - that's the point of the phrase. MLK certainly wasn't virtue signalling.


> Virtue signalling costs nothing

While that is true, it's still worth pointing out that OP did quit his job, which is more than just virtue signaling.

It turns out that some psychologists have publicly criticized the use of that term as it does belittle people who are actually acting virtuously, in addition to conspicuously posting about it..

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_signalling#Criticism


So does quitting count as no cost?


Especially in this current economic crisis. Hopefully he finds a better job and contributes to the betterment of society.


no. if you're doing it for selfish reasons or jumping on some moral bandwagon it's virtue signaling.

mlk existed when civil rights were not trendy as it now is, therefore he was surely glad free speech existed.


I don't think it's necessarily cynical, though it can be deployed by cynics.

Part of the reason virtue signaling feels wrong is because it's cheap advocacy with no skin in the game, yet those who commit it feel like they've done something. Now, is this really so bad? I read a quote in Stratechery that resonated:

--

"The first problem of being a society of talk, not action, is the inability to even consider hard work as a solution;

The second is a blindness to the real trade-offs at play.

The third, though, is the most sinister of all: if talk is all that matters, then policing talk becomes an end to itself."

--

In this case, it wasn't virtue signalling. He paid the price to stand by his conviction. We may agree or disagree with his position, but we must surely honor his commitment to it.


I'm always conflicted when I read about this kind of thing. I do think Facebook is actively making the world worse in many ways, but is it better for the people who care about this to quit in protest, or is it better if they stay and try to make things better from the inside? Will actions like this actually hurt the company, or will it just prompt them to hire replacements who have no such ethical qualms, and who may nudge the company in an even worse direction?

I don't have an easy answer, and I can certainly imagine how difficult it would be to get up and go to work for an employer every day that you see as evil, so I don't judge the author of this post for leaving...but I think it is still a question worth contemplating. I'd love to hear what other peoples' thoughts are on this.


He answerd that in his post - Zuckerberg has no intention of listening to internal pressures.

Ultimately you have to vote with your wallet.


Where did he answer that? I re-read the post but I don't see anything like what you're referencing.

Voting with your wallet is another possible approach, but that only works if the lost revenue from all the people who care enough to leave can offset the extra profits FB is making by being evil.

FWIW I deactivated my account over a year ago and never looked back, but I did that more out of concern for my own mental health than anything else, and I'm under no illusions that my solitary gesture will make much difference in the grand scheme of things.


> I'm under no illusions that my solitary gesture will make much difference in the grand scheme of things

This is also the argument against voting, recycling, and wearing a covid mask. Collective action is hard.


Recycling and wearing a mask at least have a direct impact on the physical world, and voting has a very small chance of having a very high impact which makes it rationally worthwhile. I’m not sure I agree that those examples are the same.

I did originally hope that my leaving FB might inspire others to leave too and have some kind of ripple effect, but over a year has passed and nobody else I know has followed my lead, and it’s really hard to imagine that the tiny difference in ad revenue from my absence affects the decision making at a company like that in any way whatsoever.



If you use any of Instagram, messenger, or WhatsApp, you vote with your wallet to keep Facebook alive.


WhatsApp doesn't carry ads (yet), does it? How does using WhatsApp support Facebook? [Serious question... I'm trying not to support Facebook, but do use WhatsApp.]


I suspect the monthly active user count buoys Facebook's share price.


Is there any example of "change the system from within" having ever worked? I can't bring one to mind off the top of my head, but that doesn't necessarily mean much.


Well, I'm not familiar with many examples relating to corporations either way, but I think legislation is a great example. There have been countless instances of citizens starting successful political movements within their own countries, but I'm not aware of any laws that were changed as a result of people giving up on the US and moving to Canada, for example.


It's definitely frustrating when advocates of this argument are those that benefit from the subject exerting effort keeping the system in-place. I feel it's an overreaction to broadly generalize "change the system from within" arguments to this extent though.


I didn't make a generalization. I asked a question.


> or is it better if they stay and try to make things better from the inside?

How would engineers have the political power to do this?

Unquestionably, mass resignations from experienced devs would send a message, lower the overall competency of the company (therefore weaken it), and lead to a stigma attached to working there in the future.

Anything else is excuse making from those who are comfortable and don't want to leave.

The impact would be enormous. How could it not be?


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

If you still think that Facebook will be changed from inside you can't be called a naive person anymore. Everybody who work there is now accomplices.

Quit men quit. Do the right thing. NOW.


'accomplices' to what crime?


Don't be obtuse. The thing everyone is talking about. Zuckerberg's policy of enabling Trump and a political message that is opposed by many, but enabled by not leaving.


Staying in Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp you are an accomplice of:

- the Amazon burning under Bolsonaro

- American Police violence

- Philippines death squads


Repairing roads, you're an accomplice of gangsters, murderers, rapists, extortionists, ... /s


- Hawaiian Pizza


I once had a work/politics conflict.

I did not like the idea of the ACA (Obamacare). I've seen government run healthcare and did not think it was good. But the will of the people was implemented, and ACA was put in place.

The launch was awful. The website crashed multiple times daily, and people lost their input data all the time. It was generating very big headlines. Then my company was asked to help make things better (along with Google, Oracle and a few others.) I was one of a relatively small number of people asked to help fix it.

I did the best job I could. I didn't like the idea personally, but I considered it professionalism to make my best effort.

My contributions were small, but I did what I could. Other members of the so-called 'Tiger Team' found bigger chunks that could be straightened out, and before too long the site was up and running.

Today, this is one of my proudest work moments.


I wonder what future prospective employers think about his tendencies to publicly call out the company he works for? If eventually he quits his next job, what are the odds for him to be writing an inflammatory blog post about the company?

It seems to me to not be a prudent strategy to bring politics into one's work (unless the job is political of course).

On the other hand, maybe he finds a politically minded employer that way - maybe a leftist NGO or think tank?

I frankly don't understand why such moves receive so much attention. People evaluate their employers or employment prospects all the time, and decide against jobs for a variety of reasons. What's the big deal?


Facebook cannot be the arbiter of facts and truth. IMO people are assigning way too much power to facebook. Everyone knows Facebook is just the national enquirer of the internet--no one really cares what shows up there.

The reason censorship is flawed is not that everything is true--it's that handing over the power to censor has never turned out well.

Was Obama lying when he said 'if you like your healthcare, you can keep it'? Well, it depends on who you ask and your interpretation of that, but he later apologized for the remark.

Don't be so quick to call for a revolution, lest you find yourself at the pitchfork's tip.


words are never exact and therefore the message is always subjective.

censorship is bad.


> since June 2019 I have been at Facebook, working on battling the spread of misinformation.

I applaud his principled stance. But he is probably the last person that should leave FaceBook now.


Users on social networks are fickle. They will tire of the existing FB platforms soon enough and his talent and integrity and will be more useful on the next FB replacement.


Then FB will buy the next FB replacement, and he will be back to square one. At this point I find it unlikely that FB will be dethroned unless government steps in. The lock-in is too widespread, and their cash reserves too large for anyone to threaten their position. FB is not going to fall like MySpace did. The internet has changed a lot since 2005.


> Then FB will buy the next FB replacement, and he will be back to square one.

That seems like a function of how much the owners of the new company value their integrity and how much of a price they extract from Zuck if they do sell. At some point, not selling to FB could be a currency (the new upstart could pull talent which would otherwise not want to work at FB).

> FB is not going to fall like MySpace did

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."

I suspect we will have to check back in on the health of Facebook after another 6 months of the COVID-economy ravages the advertising market. I think FB will be able to see the need to pivot; whether they are able to is not yet known.

> I find it unlikely that FB will be dethroned unless government steps in.

I think more likely users will just leave/atrophy on it like Gen Z largely did or possibly just suffer a slow death if global advertising doesn't recover to previous levels.


they will acquire, or deploy capital to make a better clone. example a: instagram stories after snapchat declined an offer. the only competition its had in the last 10 years is chinese state funded tik tok


There will always be excuses. We can play game theory predictions or you can look at history.

Most companies die or significantly evolve over the long term, even the ones that were monopolies. Would you rather own Blockbuster Video store/chain in the year 2000 or 2020? Same with retail music stores that sell CDs. Social media moves at 10x that speed, 100x the speed for those young kids who aren't afraid/wary to install new apps.


Facebook can find other engineers easily within a day or two to replace him. People should understand, company does not run by one person and more when you're at the bottom of the pyramid. I think he made a stupid decision cuz he's not thinking practically rather emotionally. I also think that people who are that emotional should not be working to battle the spread of misinformation.


Hey Facebook I'll take this guy's position. My code's way better and I won't even publicly shame you when I leave.


No need for signalling point #1, point #2 alone makes you a much better fit to any company than that guy.


"I cannot stand by Facebook’s continued refusal to act on the president’s bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public."

What is this message and does anyone have a source?


They are reacting to this message[1], which includes the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." It's a phrase that has been used as a pretext for violence against protests[2].

As mentioned in [2], Twitter reacted to the message on their platform. Facebook has the same policy against using their platform to incite or glorify violence[3], but have chosen not to enforce it (or disagree that it is an incitement to violence).

[1] https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump/posts/10164767134275725

[2] https://www.npr.org/2020/05/29/864818368/the-history-behind-...

[3] https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/credible_violenc...


Trying to stop the President from inciting violence isn't the responsibility of Facebook. People have a right to know what the President is saying and his hostile intentions. If the President says a bunch of racist and violent things in the State of the Union address, would you also blame ABC for airing it?


So, if one of those TV shows that ask people in the street about things (say, the old Candid Camera) come to me, and ask me something, and I start saying crap, fuck everyone, I'm going to kill whoever don't agree with me.

Do they have to put it in their program? Are they doing "censorship" when they cut out that part for their program? does the fact that "people have the right to know" what I am saying means that the TV program MUST keep my rant?

Of course not, that program (as twitter and facebook) is a private platform. They are free to put whatever they want. Their algorithms already heavily edit the conversation (like, I have 400 friends on facebook, and I usually only see from 10 of them at most when I load the page).

If someone working at Fox News suddenly does not agree with the content policies of the company, they will quit.


It's not about censorship. It's about allowing people to see the news. It's the same difference between a typical r/watchpeopledie video and the video of George Floyd. A regular person making a racist rant is just a racist rant. The president making a racist rant is the news.


>Trying to stop the President from inciting violence isn't the responsibility of Facebook.

I didn't say it was, nor is that my read of the issue at hand. Facebook choosing not to host a message does not stop the message from being said. It would just be said elsewhere.

>People have a right to know what the President is saying and his hostile intentions.

I am not under the impression that Facebook is the exclusive source of information for presentenial statements. I understand they are also frequently run in other media.

> If the President says a bunch of racist and violent things in the State of the Union address, would you also blame ABC for airing it?

I haven't said anything about blaming anyone. Someone asked what message was controversial and I linked the message along with an explanation of the controversy. If you think I'm taking a position I'd appreciate you speaking directly instead of imputing intent.

I also don't really understand your question. I would "blame" ABC in that I would expect them to account for how they chose to cover it (whatever that form took).


I just don't get it. Are some people just incapable of doing basic research or reading an entire article?

Trump sought to clarify his comments Friday afternoon again on Twitter: "Looting leads to shooting, and that's why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don't want this to happen, and that's what the expression put out last night means. It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It's very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!"

But, I will say this guy saw an opportunity and took it! Great self-promoter!


"when the looting starts, the shooting starts." - When I read this phrase I honestly thought that it means the looters start shooting as the next step to looting, not the other way around where the looters will be shot.


I'm guessing the context is Facebook's and Twitter's differing reactions to Trump's recent online postings. At a glance, this article seems like a thorough review of the situation: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/technology/twitter-facebo...


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Obama called rioters in Baltimore "thugs" too. I'm pretty sure he's not alt-right, nor do I suspect he hates black people.


Interestingly, threatening “no quarter” is a war crime [1]

> Under the modern laws of war, "it is especially forbidden ... to declare that no quarter will be given". This was established under Article 23(d) of the 1907 Hague Convention "IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land".[6]

> Since a judgment on the law relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials in October 1946, the 1907 Hague Convention, including the explicit prohibition against declaring that no quarter will be given, is considered to be part of the customary laws of war and binding on all parties in an international armed conflict.

[1]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_quarter


Note, however, that this is not an international armed conflict.

(Not that that matters. The rules should be better when dealing with our own people, not worse.)


Nothing you posted is accurate.

"thug" is not a word of any color. I have seen it used plenty referring to white people. The primary place it is used as you claim is by leftists creating a caricature to argue against.

I haven't seen "no quarter" used, but no, no one is advocating anyone get the death penalty for "smashing windows", although that's probably the tamest thing rioters have been doing. If someone did use that particular statement, they probably are not familiar with its actual meaning in a similar way as nearly no one is familiar with the meaning of decimate or other historic terms that have no real use in modern times.

As far as arguing the President's social media messages are the official communications of the office of the President (that's a capitalized proper noun btw, I'm sure you're virtue signaling by not capitalizing it), that argument has been made by multiple leftists who were upset that he blocked them from his twitter feed.

All of that twitter bullshit is ridiculous on both sides of the argument, but it is what it is.


> "thug" is not a word of any color. I have seen it used plenty referring to white people.

By Trump? It's possible there are a few examples, but he sure seems to apply that word in a suspiciously biased way.


Virtue Signaling is made up bullshit and anyone using the term unironically is probably stupid.

Supply me with a definition that also does not apply to your comment and we'll talk.

Let's not play games here, we all know what Trump means when he uses the word "thug".


Don't generalize, please . You're one of the most radical posters in this discussion, and your comments are full of emotions, instead of being rational and weighted .


> that argument has been made by multiple leftists who were upset that he blocked them from his twitter feed

Fox News reports:

White House spokesman Sean Spicer noted in June that Trump's tweets are official statements and the White House often sends out official statements everytime the President tweets.

CNN reports:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday President Donald Trump's tweets are indeed official statements.

"The President is the President of the United States, so they're considered official statements by the President of the United States," Spicer said, when asked during his daily briefing how they should be characterized.

YouTube from the horses mouth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHMqZ-KI-oo

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


>"thugs" is "alt-right" for the bad word for black people. Trump uses it constantly.

It is. It's also a word normal people use to describe violent criminals.

Obama stands by the term 'thugs,' White House says

https://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2015/04/29/obama-whit...


"Thug" does have a definition that is not racist.

So does "monkey".

Death cultists will claim that monkey is non-racist, when used by bigots, too.

"WUH WUH WUH ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT BRUH 1488 ISN'T RACIST IT'S JUST NUMBERS"


I'm agreeing with you that "thug" is used by alt right people as a racist term. I've been on those kinds of forums too. I see it all the time. That's a reason why Obama was called out for using the word too.

But you can't assume that because Trump used it he is racist. It is ambiguous at best. You think Trump is anti-black so you will interpret it to be racist. But the facts don't make that clear.


"thugs" has a definition that's not racist. That definition predates any layering of secret meaning you're ascribing to it here.

Trump didn't say "no quarter", that was Tom Cotton.


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You will see racism where you want to. I heard the use of thugs and didn't think about racist context. Most of the rioters aren't black people, if videos I've been watching are any indication. Consider that you may want to take everything as a bad faith expression to fit what you want to believe. I may take things in good or neutral faith to do the same. I consider that. I hope you do as well.


Watch CNN/MSNBC instead of the raw feed on The White House YouTube channel.


You must have missed when trump tweeted/fbed “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” late last week.


How is it bigoted to observe that people breaking into businesses with weapons, baseball bats, etc., in an attempt to try to steal from and destroy them, might get shot at by business owners in fear of their lives? I’m genuinely curious to hear an explanation from your perspective, because I don’t see it - I see it as a pretty logical conclusion that such a thing might happen, regardless of the race of anyone involved.


this is the very problem with censorship. messages aren't exact so on some level you have to be subjective.

the very fact that twitter interpreted it as bigoted enough to sensor, and you didn't points a red arrow to why any censorship is bad.


And it has, as people take the law into their own hands. Unfortunately in 2020 we’re still arguing whether violence is ok.


He clarified his comments and his explanation is not inflammatory.

"Looting leads to shooting, and that's why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot," Trump tweeted

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-defends-his-when-the-l...

People should be given a chance to explain what they said if it is misinterpreted. Focusing on the misinterpretation after the explanation has been made is in-fact inflammatory and divisive.


Then maybe he should run his Tweets by his staff before posting, so things like this that might be easily misinterpreted could be caught and clarified before they go out?

Look at another recent Tweet of his: "STRENGTH!" in response to someone else's Tweet. That other Tweet was from some QAnon conspiracy theorist referencing a QAnon thing about how Trump and military will soon be arresting and imprisoning or executing Democrats. QAnon follows took Trump's Tweet as confirming that this was going to start soon.

Maybe Trump didn't know what that other Tweet was referencing, and he didn't mean to encourage it. But he's the freaking PRESIDENT. His words automatically have a huge impact, and so the responsible thing to do would be to take care with them.


>Look at another recent Tweet of his: "STRENGTH!" in response to someone else's Tweet. That other Tweet was from some QAnon conspiracy theorist referencing a QAnon thing about how Trump and military will soon be arresting and imprisoning or executing Democrats. QAnon follows took Trump's Tweet as confirming that this was going to start soon.

Can you clarify what you mean? Are you saying Trump retweeted a call to imprison and execute democrats, because I looked into this and it looks to me like that was not at all the case.

On the face of it, it looks to be an inspirational Ronald Regan quote.

https://twitter.com/joep1776/status/1267222813334663169/phot...


It's a SeanCordicon tweet that Trump is retreating. The content of that tweet is:

> We knew this moment would arrive.

> We are the calm before, during & after the storm.

followed by a Reagan quote.

Cordicon is a QAnon conspiracy theorist. "The Storm" is a prominent thing in QAnon stuff [1][2] about how Trump will impose martial law to quell unrest and then he and the military will use that for a quiet coup to purge the government of Democrats and others.

[1] https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/QAnon#.22The_Storm.22

[2] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/12/qanon-4chan-the-stor...


His explanation feels disingenuous in the context of his other tweets, his "you have to dominate" statements, and the use of the military the past few days. Trump has continued to escalate things, and while I hope that it doesn't lead to shooting, it feels plausible that Trump would threaten people with "thats where things are heading!"

(The origins of the of the "looting leads to shooting" statement should also speak for itself. I know Trump claims ignorance of that statement, but there are reasons to doubt that as well.)


Recent polling suggests a majority of Americans would like to see the military used, so this isn't exactly a fringe call to violence. And it doesn't split along many of the fault lines you might expect either; 48% of Democrats and 37% of African-Americans are on board.

(https://assets.morningconsult.com/wp-uploads/2020/06/0118162...)


That's the most frightening thing I've heard in this entire mess. The rule against the military intervening in domestic affairs is hugely important. We can't afford to lose that in the heat of the moment.


Do remember that the military was deployed to quell domestic riots as recently as 1992. It's a big failure if we end up having to do it, but it's not an unprecedented nor unrecoverable one.


If the state wants it, I have no problem with it. If the state doesn't want it, though, and Trump says "You're getting them anyway, because you're out of control", well, that's quite different.


Completely agreed.


Do you agree that public officals can clarify comments that are misinterpreted and that we should take that clarification at face value.

Or do you think that all public officials should be held to the first impression of their statement forever?


Neither--the binary proposition is ridiculous.

Public officials can clarify comments, but I reserve the right to consider them in the context of their wider statements and actions. It seems silly not to.


To me, it sounds like people are quitting their jobs because they think they can read other people's minds.


If so, they can make WAY more money doing other things. Professional poker player comes to mind but you still need the self control to act or not act accordingly. High stakes contract negotiation like working for professional athlete's agents could be good. Advisor for divorce attorneys is not glamorous but would pay well.

I think all the mind readers and people who "knew that was going to happen!" should take advantage of their skills and understanding.


It’s been way too many years to give trump the benefit of the doubt. His words are never misinterpreted.


... never?

People are always correct to choose the most inflammatory interpretation?


Are you arguing that looting and rioting are free speech?

That would be an argument mostly without legal precedent or support.


I don't think anyone is seriously arguing that. But it would be nice if the President of the United States would act like a grown up and when tensions are running high try and calm the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire. It is actually possible to try and deal with situations in a measured, substantive way instead of going on Twitter and making incendiary statements.


I don't disagree with you there and have always hated the way the President uses Twitter, but in times of massive civil unrest (this isn't it, btw -- this is but a small bit of noise), there are times when ultimatums must be put down.


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How exactly did you torture what I wrote to get that out of it?


looting : property crime :: shooting : summary execution


Which is not what I wrote.

straw man somewhere else.


Ultimately, it is Mark Zuckerberg's website and therefore the content reflects the views of Mark Zuckerberg. He has the final say on whether something is published on the website or not.

It really should not matter how many "members" or "guest contributors" he has, even if it is in the billions. User-generated content is just a way to get traffic.

What if the controversial speaker had his own website where he published his comments? Would Cloudflare keep it online? Instead of an overgrown website eclipsing the web, the issue then shifts to one or a few companies dominating access to hosting.

Common words used in idealistic HN comments are "decentralisation" and "democracy". Neither concept suppports the idea of "minority rule" which is what we have in the case of the FAANG and a few other companies.


MZ has autocratic control over Facebook, for better or worse, and it doesn't seem like he's interested changing his mind.

If you disagree with MZ to the point where you can't be effective/happy, this is probably the best course of action.

I used to advocate for changing systems from within, but if an institution is simply incapable of change, then it will change you.


Complete sidenote to the post: I'm looking at this guy's CV and when describing what he did as a head TA he says "developed and taught lectures; designed and administered exams". I thought TAs were meant to be secondary help when running a course. Sounds like the TAs were running this course. Is that normal?


Increased teaching responsibilities for TAs definitely happens at universities, especially for larger courses where TAs divide a large class into smaller sections. This seemed to be the case for OP and is all the more expected given that he was head TA.


When reading a resume, it's important to remember that often one attributes group effort to oneself. That's just the generally agreed upon etiquette for resumes.

So a programmer who says 'Designed and developed a Ruby web app' probably did not do it herself from start to finish--she worked on a team with 20 others. That is meant to be understood in resume-speak and isn't misleading.

If I were reading that, I would infer that he assisted a professor in preparing/reviewing material, lead discussions (perhaps in study sessions or small groups), and suggested or wrote exam material on behalf-of and with the professor's approval.


Yeah it's pretty common, for example the TAs at Stanford taught a few of the engineering lectures sometimes. I think maybe it was to help them internalize the material and also practice teaching.


For some courses, yes. In Senior Design at UIUC the TAs basically run the whole course and the professors are there to evaluate the teams' final presentation and the end of the semester.


The problem with being a Facebook-user is quitting it while trying to keep in touch with your friends. Presently, this only works if Facebook itself would fail.

I believe if it were still possible to keep in touch with Facebook friends and content without being a Facebook-user yourself, we can subvert the Network Effect, which in the first place is what Facebook owes its dominance to.

A solution may be to force social media companies by law to adhere to a standard on information exchange, much like e-mail and http protocols.

If there is such a thing as "OpenBook" and it still allows me to communicate, comment, view and react to FB-content, I'd ditch FB in an instant.


This is weird. I’m not on facebook and I keep in touch with my friends. Whats this weird jedi mind trick where Facebook has convinced people they can’t keep in touch off of it?


It's sticky. People do forget. I've seen it happen too, when everyone I knew got on Facebook and I didn't. Over the course of a year or so, people just gradually stopped returning emails, texts, and calls. And Facebook event planning meant I never even found out about stuff until long after it happened, as for example with the two weddings I wasn't invited to because people used their Facebook friends lists as the only input to their invitation lists. They apologized when I ran into them after the fact, but they didn't change their behavior.

I don't blame them, because Facebook is designed to modify human behavior in exactly this manner. You can be present on the platform to have revenue extracted from your social life, or you can be punished as a means of encouraging you to get on the platform so revenue can be extracted from your social life.

Whether anyone intends this dichotomy is irrelevant. The purpose of a system is what it does. And this is what Facebook does.


I hate to tell you this but those people aren't your friends.

I have plenty of friends. What's more, I know they're real.

I mean, how real are your friendships if they won't respond to an occasional text? What even does friendship mean then?


These were the people who rallied around to help me start recovering from a decade-long abusive relationship, once I finally wised up and got out. Maybe that by you doesn't qualify as friendship. I don't care what does.


And those same people wouldn't answer a text message or pick up the phone if you called them?


Yeah, that checks out - some variety of this line of questioning plays out every time I have this conversation, so it's just about time you got here. Let's see if we can save some time here:

"Your friends must be terrible people!" - no, as we've already covered, they're not. They helped get me through some rough times. Terrible people, and I've known my share, don't bother.

"Well, then, you must be a terrible person!" - if that were the case, the apologies I got wouldn't have happened, much less been heartfelt. They weren't snubbing me on purpose, or deliberately cutting me out. I've seen my share of that, too, from both sides. This wasn't it.

"Well, then, what you're saying just doesn't make sense!" - sure it does. We're all busy professionals, no longer young, many with young families, all with significant demands on our time and mental energy. People drift apart, it happens. That's probably what it looked like, from the perspective of people on Facebook: me drifting apart from them. In a sense, I suppose it's even true.

Just that it didn't happen that way because I wanted it to, or because they wanted it to, but rather because Facebook wanted it to. Because as you grow ever more accustomed to communicating with everyone you know via Facebook, it gets ever easier just not to think particularly about communicating with anyone any other way.

There's an activation energy barrier to everything, not just to joining the mailing list for some SaaS startup. The more you get habituated to Facebook, the higher that barrier gets with everything else by comparison.

And eventually you get tired of feeling like you're carrying the relationship, and tired of feeling stung by hearing after the fact about another fun camping trip or dinner or wedding that you didn't get an invite to because the whole thing was planned on Facebook. Eventually you just give up, and maybe it takes a few years to realize that you weren't at fault, and neither were your friends. You both got screwed out of each other's company by a machine that is designed to do exactly that, because it can't make money from social interactions that occur outside its hegemony.

That's that punishment I was talking about. It isn't a metaphor. It is a consequence imposed by design to convince Facebook abstainers to do otherwise.

And to forestall your next objection, no, I don't think anyone sat down and planned it that way - probably not, anyhow; I don't put much past Silicon Valley, these days. But even if it's an emergent property rather than an intentional one, that's still no excuse. The purpose of a system is what it does. And this, again, is what Facebook does.

Anything else?


Thank you for taking the time to write all that down. I fully agree with most of it.

I tried quitting Facebook, WhatsApp, and whatnot, to no avail. It just doesn't work out like that for me.

I'm born to expatriate parents in some country my Dad was working at the time. Half of my relatives presently live more than 10,000 km away from me, the other half are spread about in all of Germany. I was at two international schools, and a local German school. From the former, my friends are spread out all over the world. From the latter, all around Germany, and some around the world. I presently live and work here in Germany, but I'm sure, if I ever leave for another country, that something like Facebook will become even less expendable. I'm grateful for social media, but I am indeed annoyed that Facebook's the one that has prevailed (so far).

My best friends are the ones I text and call and hang out with. The others, who don't get that privilege, we're both glad to be able to see what the other is doing, without having to engage in direct contact. It doesn't make that form of communication less valuable, because in fact, it adds another dimension to it, increasing the total (social) value.

If all your friends are like Elliot Alderson, sure, I bet you don't need Facebook or any social media. But I also have a ton of friends and relatives who I'd honestly describe as "IT-handicapped", that wouldn't be able to make a change away from Facebook. And these people for one do not understand why Facebook is so bad, and are also too numerous to "convert" away from it, and second, I also don't want to be the "Messiah" to do that.

It thus makes more sense to "convert" Facebook. It may be a privately owned company, but if not already, the data we leave there belongs to us (maybe not in the US, but the EU appears to be trying to head into that direction) and so we should also have a say in that.

And, most of all, I want interoperability.


What about just using Facebook for its chat features and ignoring the timeline altogether?

I use this even on desktop: http://m.facebook.com/messages

Alternatively you could bridge to Facebook from some more open system like Matrix or Bitlbee.


It makes perfect sense. You also just confirmed with me that I never want to return to Facebook.

I don't need that website to have that much control over my life and my social relationships. It just doesn't make sense to me, but I'm glad it worked out for you.


What in that comment led you to believe I ended up getting on Facebook? Serious question; I didn't feel like I needed to explicitly make the point that I didn't, haven't, and won't, and that as far as I'm concerned, the only thing Facebook is good for is killing it with an axe. But by your response I get the sense I failed to make that clear.


All I can say is that I’m not on Facebook and I have no issue staying in contact with my friends. Since I haven’t had the experience of being on Facebook or hearing about events via Facebook for several years now I can’t relate to your experience.


It's the difference between broadcast and point to point.

On Facebook I can make a post and all my friends see it. They can make a post and I will see it.

As nice as it would be, I just don't have the time to have a one on one conversation with every one of my friends and update them on all the goings on in my life. And they don't either.

I even have data on this. I had a friend who was Facebook. She would post updates there, and then when we had lunch, I was all caught up and we could talk about stuff that's just relevant to the two of us. Then she deleted her FB account. So we shifted to texting more, but when we got together most of the time was spent having her tell me about the stuff she'd already had to tell everyone else.

She got so frustrated repeating her stories over and over to her friends that she signed up for another Facebook account, so she could go back to the broadcast method.

Facebook serves a valid purpose. There are many friends who I only get to see once every year or every few years in person, but I see on Facebook all the time. When we get together we don't have to spend time catching each other up, and can instead enjoy the time we have together to be in the moment and talk about what is happening right then.


That's absurd.

I left FB for the very reason that people weren't sharing the real details of their lives. At all. Most were post-less creepers. Many just posted links to media sites. Some posted in-crowd updates that didn't make sense without context. Nobody gave universal and honest updates about their lives.

So, I call BS on the idea that meeting face to face is exhausting because you're retelling a story over and over. Maybe after a major vacation, but in general, I share different parts of my life experience with different friend sets based on where we overlap. I may tell the same story several times, but it's because I either need multiple responses to process or I enjoy sharing the story.

Finally, you don't have data. You have a single anectdotal experience.

I'll accept your FB experience is more fulfilling than mine was, but I am highly dubious that there are a lot of people really learning what their true friends are living and experiencing and going through via FB.


I mean, the majority of people today keep in touch via IG, Messenger or WhatsApp. All of which are owned by Facebook.

If you've avoided all of those as communication means; more power to you. But the Network Effect is real.


It's a critical mass thing, if all your friends use Facebook to organise parties/events, you will eventually start missing stuff.

I know because it's happened, quit FB for a year a few years ago and missed at least 2 get togethers/random dos just because people forget to invite you off Facebook.

Although now I've got some friend groups that organise stuff on whatsapp, and others on FB, which is probably part of the reason FB bought them.


It is easy to stay in touch with your core network without Facebook. Facebook just extends that ease of contact to everyone you've ever met.


This is the most non-sensical argument of all of the "I would but I can't" Facebook apologists. I've quit Facebook while many of my friends have not.

I still trade memes, hear about going-ons in the neighborhood, get invited to parties, and generally have a functioning social life. I keep in touch via iMessage, Signal, Facetime, and GASP! SMS, the plain 'ol telephone, and e-mail.

You do not NEED Facebook to have a functioning social life. It simply removes some of the friction of maintaining a social life in exchange for wildly valuable information about yourself and your friends. Meanwhile, it seems to be contributing to the destruction of Western society.

So yea I suppose it seems like a fair trade just so you know about that weekend party milliseconds sooner.


Or if your friends are willing to interact with you by phone, text message (not Messages(tm)), email, in person, or whatever platform your group selects.

It depends on your age, friend group, and location, but as a Midwesterner in his 30s, all of my friend groups - soccer, work, running, neighborhood, family, old classmates - have our primary group conversations over tools other than Facebook.

I'm one of (not the only) person in those groups who doesn't use Facebook, but everyone has a phone, text messaging, and email, so we use those instead. I'd say ~80% of my friend group does have it, so I'm sure I miss out on some interesting photos and posts. But there's enough people that don't to make it unreasonable to exclude people who don't want it.

Do you think your friends would stop talking to you if you said "Hey, I'm shutting down my Facebook, call me at ###-###-#### or email me at klingonopera@ if you want to get in touch"? They wouldn't. The network effect just isn't that strong, you wouldn't miss out on as much as you think you would, and I think my social life is better overall for the lack of Facebook.


If someone is willing to forget you exist and stop communicating with you just because you dropped off their favorite social network system... well, my guess is they aren't really your friend after all.


We just need to fix the existing laws so they can't be used to stifle interoperability.

As it stands there's nothing technically preventing anyone from reverse-engineering the Facebook client API and making a third-party client. There's going to be a game of cat and mouse (just like with ad blockers) but it is doable.

The problem here is legal. Facebook recently (and wrongly) DMCA'd a GitHub repo of a PHP client for the Instagram API. That was blatant abuse of the DMCA regardless of everything else as all of the code was custom, not infringing on Facebook's copyright. However, even if the DMCA wasn't an issue there's always the risk of a lawsuit like with LinkedIn scraping (that thankfully seems to be going in the scraper's favor) or that App Stores are in bed with the big guys and will not allow a third-party client on the store to begin with.


I’ve been off Facebook about a year and have spent far, far more time talking to and hanging out with friends than before. Even after Covid, we just switched to virtual hangouts, chat, and online games. Facebook does not help you keep in touch


Problem is: how many of your friends now are up to date on what's happening to you? Probably just a handful vs maybe 20+ before.

Also, more hanging out with friends probably means you tell the same story again and again, over and over.


Are you arguing that an in-person interaction is somehow actually less real and less meaningful than looking at someone's curated social media feed?


I am suggesting to consider that possibility, yes. I noticed the opposite is taken as truth without review.


Well yes, it seems obvious to me that an in person interaction is more authentic. But I'm open to being proven wrong. Why would you argue that a social media feed would be more genuine?


I am not sure what do you mean by "authentic". As for the genuine: people have more time to think what to say when making a post on social network, than in a real-time conversation.


P.S. Why should I be obsessed that people know every detail of my life? I kind of would prefer that they don't know every detail of my life. That strikes me as pretty narcissistic to be blunt. I would strongly prefer to not base my self worth on what people perceive of my online persona.


> If there is such a thing as "OpenBook" and it still allows me to communicate, comment, view and react to FB-content, I'd ditch FB in an instant.

Same here. I love the idea of federated social media, but it seems hard to get e.g., my parents to use it. Is there something that could be done to make it more accessible?


I'm curious to know how much value it adds to our lives to stay in touch with long distance friends over facebook. Didn't we survive for years on old fashioned texts, phone calls, or even emails? If they are really that important, wouldn't we just be doing those things? This might be an unpopular opinion and sound cynical, but really consider that if we dont want to use those forms of communication over Facebook, maybe those friends are better left as happy memories?


I used the think I needed Facebook to keep in touch with friends. That is, until I pulled 3 months' worth of my data and categorized it. I realized I wasn't using it to keep in touch with friends at all, and was just mindlessly sharing low-engagement crap I found online. So I stopped using it, became happier, and I actually make an effort to keep in touch with friends through text, email, etc., now.


Text, email, snail mail, phone, video chat, and (post-COVID) in-person gatherings are all other ways to stay in touch with family and friends. In many cases, the quality of interactions through these alternatives exceeds anything that “social” media can provide.


It sounds like your social graph should be portable, so you can take it to a neutral 3rd party.


I’m interested in decoupling personal data from the application layer. Solid[0] is one such experiment.

It seems doomed though... and even if it does “work”, I imagine the nightmare scenario where, in order to use FB, you have to give them FULL ACCESS to aaaaaaalll of your data (email, contacts, messages, etc...).

There are also technical concerns around caching / rate-limiting, UX concerns around the complexity, and operational concerns around business models that don’t involve a Dragon’s cave full of data.

But, I hope something like this works. Or maybe just better tools for personal blogs again?

[0] https://solid.mit.edu


That would be a dream. Switch providers, keep your phone number ^W^W username and social graph.


Your phone has a phonebook.


deleting your social network on their platform helps encourage them to fail.


And who moderates OpenBook? What's gonna keep the new social networks feeding off Facebook from becoming another attention grabbing surveillance product?


This is a nice gesture, but a more helpful one would be leaking their internal documents/information to reduce the objectionable power asymmetry. Spill the beans. Put money not into the nonprofit-industrial complex but toward the development of better tools or to allow counter-campaigning in some form. Offer to perform work for free for people who have been calling out this problem for a long time, so as to map out radicalization networks without having to get approval to use crowdtangle or sign NDAs.


For years now, major internet companies operating in China had to comply with censorship, surveillance, etc.

These companies have three options: comply with the local law (however abusive or unethical it is), stop operations or be willing to be penalized.

Zuckerberg wants to just preserve the status quo, where Facebook is protected from liability and can remain being profitable. The alternative is to wilfully expose Facebook to an unacceptable amount of liability.

Facebook does not have as much power as you think in this situation.


When BBSes started to come about, we were warned repeatedly that censoring content would make us liable for the the contents themselves. If we did not, we could not be held liable. The only place we were told we can limit, is at account sign-up.

What happened to this legal quandary? Facebook is not only a "carrier of posts" but also "arbiter of contents", in essence playing both.

Is Facebook then liable for the contents? I am not referring to DMCA, but libel and related issues.


Seems like this is an easy problem to solve. Allow users to control their own content filters instead of removing the offending content from the platform altogether. Unless this isn't actually about that, and is really just people trying to shut down opinions they don't agree with...


I've wondered this myself. Platforms could censor illegal material as required by law, then leave the gray areas to users. There's a pretty big technical challenge, though, because instead of training a single one-size-fits-all algorithm, you suddenly have to train N algorithms, where N is the number of users on your platform. In order to scale, this training may have to be done on the client.

But in addition to the technical challenge, I doubt these platforms want to cede the enormous power they have over information distribution. Right now Twitter can flex on the president of a global hegemon, which is crazy power. Why would they give that up?


N is the number of content types (still a lot), so FB only needs one misinformation filter, and you the user could choose whether or not you want that one.


This is not about user filters.

I haven’t seen trump’s post on my Facebook because I don’t follow him.

This is about employees who feel that Trump is so dangerous that his posts should be deleted or hidden to prevent his willing followers from seeing them.

Needless to say, any open protocol Facebook alternative would still allow Trump to broadcast his evil messages. Just like he is able to send emails and texts with the messages to his supporters today.

Is the next step AT&T and Verizon and TMobile employees demanding trump campaign SMSes be censored ? What is the meaningful difference between that and a tweet/post?


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