Facebook supports Donald J. Trump

It’s pretty straightforward.  Facebook will allow political ads that contain easily verifiable lies — like the ones a certain presidential candidate compulsively spouts.  A political ad can make any claim on Facebook and be directed, by ingenious algorithms, directly and exclusively to its target audience.  That’s fine with Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook.  He argues, essentially, that in a deeply materialistic, competitive democracy nobody has the right to restrain Facebook’s ability to make unlimited money and wield political influence.   His policy of allowing political lies on Facebook directly favors the lying political candidate. His policy favors Donald Trump, a candidate Zuck likely doesn’t much like.  Supports him, yes, considering the alternative, but Mr. Zuck, in all likelihood,  likely don’t like Mr. Trump.

Although political ads account for only a tiny percentage of Facebook’s revenues, the incursion into Facebook’s right to decide all matters of policy is intolerable to Zuck.  The regulatory camel getting it’s nose in the proverbial tent.   A leaked recording of a recent Mark Zuckerberg address to his Facebook troops contained the following passage, responding to the potential challenge of a President Elizabeth Warren and the lawsuit that would try to prevent her promised regulation of gigantic, influential entities like Facebook.

“Does that still suck for us?  Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government.  That’s not like the position you want to be in.  We care about our country and want to work with our government to do good things, but look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

What is ‘that existential’?  The right to increase the value of Facebook (and Zuck’s personal wealth, currently a measly $70,000,000,000) without interference of any kind from anybody, and at any price to democracy (or anything else).  Only in America can someone make that argument with a straight face.  “I only have seventy billion dollars, several people have more.  I have every right to double or triple my personal fortune, without any interference from fucking bastards!  It’s called liberty, you Nazi assholes!”  

A billionaire’s right to unlimited additional wealth is an argument so basic to American society that it never need be explicitly made.   The belief is as deeply ingrained as the ubiquity of commercial (and increasingly political) advertising. Nobody is challenging Zuck on his right to amass as many additional  billions as his genius can secure.  Anyone in Zuck’s position, we assume, would feel exactly the same way, go to the mat for his right to infinite wealth.  The billionaire is, in the common American perception, an exceptionally brilliant species of human, a genius, an object of worship here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Elizabeth Warren, and others, recognize the dangers posed by the outsized power of unregulated corporate “persons” like Facebook.   Facebook is a leader in what Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism” its corporate genius is using customer data to target individuals and prey on their expressed desires and weaknesses. [1]

All corporations are psychopaths, that’s the kind of “person” they are.  Watch the trailer for this excellent movie if you have any doubts on that score (the whole movie is here)  Corporate persons have one interest only: the bottom line.  They employ any means necessary to pursue that bottom line.   Social Media corporations are uniquely well-equipped to feed in an ocean that is almost entirely unregulated.   That’s some existential shit, elected representatives seeking to impose rules to restrain the things that corporations, driven by eternal appetite, do in their ravenous quest for ever more prey. 

“Something ‘that existential’. you know, the right to have no obstacles to increasing my mere $70,000,000,000 net worth.  I am one of the greatest geniuses mankind has ever produced and I strenuously object to lesser, non-corporate, persons telling me what I can and cannot do.  I will go to the mat.  To the fucking mat, do you hear me?”

We hear you, baby.

 

[1]  Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for A Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s