Dear Mr Zuckerberg: The Problem Isn’t The Internet, It’s Facebook

From The Guardian

Dear Mr Zuckerberg:

I read with great interest your post Monday on Facebook celebrating 15 years of helping people connect with others through a series of frames on a blue background.

Let me add my name to the list of those who are impressed with what you have built. Driven by a set of ideals and some clever code, you steadily built a money machine that has also accumulated remarkable influence around the world.

I urge people to consider these numbers when pondering the power of Facebook: 2.3 billion users writing in more than 100 languagesalmost $17bn in revenue in just the fourth quarter of 2018; almost $59bn in revenue for all of 2018; a market capitalization of $484bn in January 2019. You built all of this in a mere 15 years. Those are stunning numbers, and they speak to the talents of you and your employees.

More here.

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13 Responses to Dear Mr Zuckerberg: The Problem Isn’t The Internet, It’s Facebook

  1. David Torres February 8, 2019 at 8:42 pm #

    It is truly impressive that a man by the name of Mark Zuckerberg , created a social media platform that has changed the world. It has changed the how people interact with one another. This includes the ability and freedom to easily share ideas and experiences. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is a company that has generated several million dollars in revenue in its recent years. Facebook is so widely know that it has gotten the likes of famous government officials and “nationalist leaders such a Donald Trump, Narenda Modi and Rodrigo Durente”.
    The Author seems to be very jealous of the owner of Facebook, the social media platform giant. She claims that It is doing more harm than good. She states “By turning the focus away from Facebook to “the internet” you try to fool us into conflating the two. I don’t see exactly how she sees Mark Zuckerberg trying to fool the world. Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard Dropout with an excellent mind. He had a vision, an idea and choose to pursue it. While being doubted by others, it did not affect him. He was told that his idea was terrible and that it would attract no one’s attention, that would result in a business model with failure written all over it. He continued to have thick skin and have pursue his vision. This was the catalyst that drove his overall success.
    The author yet again sounds unhappy when she says “congratulations on becoming rich and powerful. To do that while remaining so clueless about how the world works is an astounding feat.” She attempts to degrade Zuckerberg’s accomplishments in a sarcastic way that screams enviousness. Zuckerberg clearly knows how the world works if he managed to create a social media platform that the entire world uses and loves. Not to mention it generates several billion dollars in revenue each quarter. Jealousy is common in today’s world but to go so far as to write an article about it is just extraordinary. When she says “May I suggest some books? They don’t have targeted ads in them”, was a terrible insult toward Zuckerberg. However, I found it embarrassing for herself because of how awful it really was.

    • Michael C February 9, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

      I completely agree with David Torres. This article starts out with a great praise of Mark Zuckerberg and all the revenue that Facebook has generated in a span of 15 years. Zuckerberg has a lot of power, yes, but he does not need to flaunt it. Pretty much everyone who is socially active knows who Mark Zuckerberg is. I dislike how this article starts to come at Mark Zuckerberg like he did something wrong. Facebook is not the problem: we are the problem. Every day, a great number of posts are shared, liked and viewed. Zuckerberg can mostly control what we post, but why should he. Facebook is free to the public and it is on you what is posted and what other people should see and not see. The internet is not the problem either. The main problem is all the people in the world causing the problem.

  2. Goanio Chavarria February 11, 2019 at 8:23 pm #

    The genius behind Facebook is remarkably and unarguably a renaissance man on his own. Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of this social media giant had surely changed the world as we once knew it. He did not just solely affect technology but perhaps jump started the popularity of social media. But was this for the better or for the worse? As the article congratulates Zuckerberg on the major success of Facebook and his accolades, it equally tears him apart by recognizing the negatives of his creation. To become a billionaire at such a young age is astounding and unheard of. Zuckerberg will always be remembered for that. But perhaps a different light is starting to shine on a new narrative.
    I personally grew up when Facebook really took off. It was the hottest topic and the new trend every person wanted to get their hands on. From teenagers and adults to elders hoping to reconnect with old peers, Facebook was the site for everyone. It put all other sites to sleep as most other sites targeted teenagers and young adults; sites such as MySpace and AIM. Facebook had taken off and never looked back on its way to becoming a billion dollar company. Much like most teenagers, I used and abused Facebook as a young teenager. However, I highly regret that decision. At the time it was what all the kids were doing, but looking back on it I realize I am not a huge fan of it.
    In recent years it seems that this social media trademark has unfortunately helped the wrong people. As stated in the article, Zuckerberg refuses to take responsibility and pushes blame to “the internet” when evidently it seems that the internet was not the problem, rather Facebook was. This is a huge issue for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. The site was designed and meant for people to interact and connect with others in a way that was friendlier and more practical, and it has done just that. He delivered what he sent out to do. However, while doing so he created a way for terrorists and others alike to communicate in plain site and assist those in doing so.
    With Facebook being world-wide and accessible in over one hundred different languages, it seems that it has become so big it has grown vulnerable to what it was not meant for. With Zuckerberg’s emphasis on “the internet” it seems he neglects the realization that Facebook has indeed been as asset to those who look for trouble and harm. With praise in the beginning of the article to criticism of the young billionaire, Zuckerberg has been apart of scrutiny in recent years. Now that more and more users are becoming aware of this Facebook needs to voice themselves among their users. With employing and helping politicians and the turmoil behind privacy concerns and policies, Facebook has been declining. As the popularity of the company will always remain a constant, the usage of the social media site may decline and some users may even protest against it. The world’s favorite social media may not seem so innocent and friendly after all. Although Mark Zuckerberg should not be the sole blame for what is going on in the world, I cannot say he is so innocent himself. Facebook and Zuckerberg need to be reevaluated.

  3. Alison Schwerthoffer February 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm #

    In the news since the beginning of last year Facebook and all of their issues have been coming up a lot. From hackers, to giving away users informations, Facebook’s reputation has been plummeting. This article really helped put Facebook and its leader Mark Zuckerberg into context and how just how bad the company and the CEO really are. The article is very interesting in many ways. First I liked how it was set in a letter format. This really got my attention when I first began the article. Then the author moved into the earnings of Facebook and I was shocked. I did not realize the amount of money Facebook actually generates and the fact that last year they made $59 billion. This fact shows how huge Facebook actually is and how influential it really is.
    The article moves from praising Facebook and what it has accomplished to listing all of the things that Zuckerberg is doing wrong. An interesting point was made that when people use Facebook they are interacting on Zuckerger’s terms. By this Vaidhyanathan is referring to the rules of Facebook and the data and algorithms that they use to monitor what people are saying and posting. On Facebook some posts that have differing ideas than the ideas of Facebook are taken down. Also, because Facebook shares users informations to companies people sometimes only see ads and posts that relate to their ideas, values, interests, etc. rather than any other posts that maybe don’t react to the users preferences. This can keep information away from users. Another interesting point in the article is about Zuckerberg himself. While users and the media know about all the the problems listed in the article people may not realize that Zuckerberg tries to hide the problems and blame “the internet” rather than himself and his app. Vaidhyanathan states that Zuckerberg tries to confuse people and try and get favor back to him by blaming anyone besides himself.
    Overall this article put Facebook and its CEO into perspective and showed just how deceiving the company really can be. Being a user of Facebook, the commentary really puts into question whether I should have an account or the app anymore, if it will just keep generating profit for this dishonest company and leader.

  4. Joseph Oates February 13, 2019 at 7:26 pm #

    This idea that Siva Vaidhyananthan brings up that Facebook is the problem and not the internet is a very interesting idea that she proposes. To say that Facebook it self is the problem and not the Internet as a whole is something that I can not one hundred percent agree with. I feel that her saying that Facebook is a problem is something that I can agree with. To say that Facebook is the only website that has an agenda that goes with selling someone’s information that enters their website is just plain wrong. All websites use the same system of storing and selling data to companies, to find out what they are talking about and looking up. All companies will spend money to find out any and all the information that they can gather from websites, for it is basic marketing. Every company needs information to sell items or try to pull you towards their own website to get you interested for future activity. I once worked with a girl for over a year, and in that time I learned the kind of partner that she was looking for. One day while listening to her Pandora station on her phone an ad came on telling her about the best place to find the partner that she was interested in. This small ad showed that any website from Facebook to any other website that she might have gone on before, had taken her information and sold it. Every website that uses cookies, the annoying little box that pops up sometimes when entering a website, is the same as what Facebook has done. Taking and storing all the information to push ads towards you on a later date for when someone comes looking for the information. To say Facebook does this alone is something that people might think because Facebook was brought up on this in the capital.
    I will not defend Facebook in any way for what else that do or have done, just as Siva brings up. Facebook has more power on the internet then almost any other website except for Microsoft that owns Google. Facebook tells others what they want them to see, and take away their First Amendment right. When logging in to Facebook you believe that you can go and post something for all your friends to see. Whether it is happiness or anger, you can go on and post as long as it does not break the rules of Facebook. However, the rule of Facebook can be taken in however the person feels when reading this. The right to say, I hate the President, or I think this party is stupid could be taken down because someone on another computer does not agree with you. Having this kind of ability to block someones free speech based solely on the thoughts of how you want people to think, is not what the first Amendment says. Looking at it from the standpoint of it is privately owned and they can tell you that you do not have as much freedom of speech because of that. To say though that that they threaten entrenched authority for this is false.
    Facebook does not threaten all authority, they threaten the authority that they believe to be entrenched. During the last presidential election I felt that to really find out who to vote for based around my idea of a good president, was to listen to everyone that was running. Even if I did not agree with their point of view on a subject that I was strongly for or against. I felt that listening to those from all parties would give me the best knowledge as to who I was voting for, instead of just voting for a party or person. While listening and reading interviews, I saw that some people were complaining about how their ads on Facebook were not being shown. Others talking about their online groups being closed. While others never complained about any of this happening to them. Facebook was going after some political ideas or parties and stopping them from being able to use their platform for their campaign. Mark Zuckerberg believes that he is taking on this role of helping those get free speech and allowing help to take down the government if it is entrenched. This is the opposite of what he is really doing with his brand. He is using it to sell information to others for money, blocking some from expressing their first amendment right, and holding back politics that his platform does not want others to see.

  5. Jack F Comfort February 15, 2019 at 8:02 pm #

    Facebook has started many dangerous online trends which many other online companies have followed. From them obsessively collecting data and altering your feed to feel different ways, they are a dangerous trend setter. Many other companies have tried to replicate these trends to use them for their own benefit. By doing this all respect for an individual’s privacy on the web has been lost, no matter what website you go on or if you don’t even have Facebook at all they are always watching.

  6. Raymond Wilkinson IV February 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm #

    While Facebook has become an enormous networking platform and poses as an outline for many up and coming social media platforms, they have also made many strange steps which to public most do not like. In particular Facebook received much backlash for all the information sharing and selling to companies. By doing this Facebook has shown other social media sites that this practice is important and an easy way to make money. Facebook also uses the data they collect on you and your friends to display to you ads that are “fine-tuned” to your interest. many may say that the reputation of Facebook over time has been tarnished yet Facebook still remains the networking giant it has been. The growth of Facebook and records it has broken prove that Zuckerberg and Facebook deserve the praise it has received and over the span of 15 years the power facebook has gained is undeniable. I feel this company and its CEO may require some checks to this power they hold and must remain focused on the right path to advancing the public’s opportunities.

  7. Abdulrafay Amir February 25, 2019 at 10:07 pm #

    Despite the current conditions of Facebook and its enormous impact on our world today, it has been quite impressive to see how much they have been able to generate over the 15 years they have been running. The most astonishing feat is for them to raise hundreds of billions of dollars with the base of their website platform. It is interesting to note how despite all of this; many people don’t focus on the negative facets of Facebook. The website allows almost any individual to run their campaign or movement despite the consequences or benefits that can follow from these actions. As the author said in the article, Facebook allowed individuals like Donald Trump to gain power which is a curse and a blessing on the end of Facebook. This is because you can see how realistic it is for members of Facebook to voice their opinions and through a lot of the freedom provided on this social media platform, people are free to discuss whatever they want.
    It is important to note that the reason this is so crucial is the sole fact of all individuals no matter what their stature is can be found making posts and calling for movements all the time. Facebook has truly been corrupted by different parties who spread hate on a platform that is accessible to everyone and is especially accessible to young minds that can easily be shaped and changed. Instead of Zuckerberg’s initial hopes of connecting and forming bonds through this easy platform for people to reach each other, the effects have become more negative than positive. Honestly at this point, you can tell that Zuckerberg and the rest of Facebook will allow these people to continue what they want to do as long as these individuals follow within the guidelines of their website. This is a cause for concern, but in todays world, as long as the “big fish” get their money, they could care less about what happens to those under them.

  8. Jamir Anderson February 28, 2019 at 11:30 am #

    I don’t agree that Facebook is a problem, but that the people who use technology on the daily is.As people on these social media platforms, we choose to use it everyday and we see the posts that are created, shared, and talk about with others. Zuckerberg could change things in Facebook to control posting and sharing but why should he? Facebook gives the users free will and for the users to do what they want. Facebook is for the public and anyone can use, which is great for all. The success Mr Zuckerberg has made with Facebook has been great and creating Facebook became the start of something bigger. Facebook has created so many opportunities other social media companies and business to create similar ideas and also become profitable. Without Zuckerberg creating Facebook, many of the other companies would not be around today. Facebook holds plenty of powerful but I feel that you cannot blame their social media platform, but can blame the users. If the users and people feel some negative towards Facebook, then they should use it less or not use it at all. Facebook was created to help people connect easily and be able to reach others. I just feel like people can’t be mad at Zuckerberg when it’s the people who can be using Facebook in a negative way. Facebook is just providing the platform, and if you use it in a negative and unproductive way, that is on you. We tend to look to blame the things around us when we need to look at ourselves and see what we can do different on these platforms.

  9. Andrew Kenny March 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

    The idea that one website could hold so much worldwide participation, and maintain it is truly astounding. Mark Zuckerberg successfully created a platform where billions of users worldwide are able to connect and share videos, photos, ideas, start dialogue, etc. The only thing bigger than their body of users is their revenue itself. Zuckerberg has become so rich, so powerful, and so influential that it is a shame that he doesn’t want to admit how much he can impact our world. It has led to great opportunities for innovation, investment, and the creation of jobs. It also has sentimental value for many, because they can see the lives of the one’s they love whom they may not live near or be able to see much. However, not everything with Facebook is as smooth and perfect as it may seem.
    It is scary to see how much information Facebook is able to gather about our personality, family, place of work, and image. This information is a breach of privacy, but an even better asset for the government. Zuckerberg has a large impact on politics, and fits the mold of a “traditional hierarchy.” He has access to what other powerful people want, and other powerful people have assets that he wants. The internet itself has its flaws, and may not be as secure as we hope, but Facebook is much more of a direct attack on users. We now know how much information they have access to, and we know how profitable the company really is.
    Maybe Zuckerberg is not being ignorant on purpose, maybe he just does not understand how powerful he really is. I’m sure creating an internet empire is busy work to maintain, and he just sees himself as an innovator for the people, but its services are a lot more daunting than what is on the surface. There is really no more hiding and excuse making for him to do, he needs to be honest and open about his influence, and the amount of information he holds in the palm of his hand. Social media has become quite the commodity for the everyday person, but we are quick to forget how many underlying side effects there are when using these platforms.

  10. Doran Abdi April 12, 2019 at 7:57 pm #

    I had previously resented looking at this article because of my lack of knowledge about the situation that has been occurring with Facebook and especially the interference Mark Zuckerberg has had with the entire dilemma. After being recently educated on the situation that is occurring within this company, I have been very shocked and disturbed to realize what a company has been able to get away with while the majority of the public continuing to be utilize the services that are being provided from this company. Over the last couple of years, a lot of attention has been raised upon what Mark Zuckerberg has been allowing Facebook to do and many of the reasons in which he has done the things that he has done with his Social Media service. Whether it is interfering with certain elections or partaking in a mass genocide of a foreign country, Facebook has been the butt of a lot of negative media attention as of lately. To me, the real issue is not what Zuckerberg has done or what Facebook is doing, it has been how the mass public has responded towards the injustices that this company has been committing.

    When you allow someone to come into your home, you are showing that you give that stranger all of the trust you have. You are allowing that person who you feel is reliable enough to come into your home where you feel safe and all of your personal possessions are held. Now, if that person is to steal something from your home or in any invade your privacy, the initial response should be to cut that person from your life and never allow that person to enter your home again until the point where they have been able to build their trust up with you again. Facebook has been that stranger who has entered everyone’s home. Around 2008 or so, Facebook had been this revolutionary social media service that allowed for people to connect with other people all over the world or within their own community. It had been viewed as something remarkably when it was first introduced to the world and the entire world had responded very well to this new service. At some point in time, that stranger who everyone had let into their home had went behind their back and entirely invaded the privacy of millions all over the world. Where the people of the world should have kicked that person out of their home, people responded in a way where they were upset with Facebook but they continued to let them in their home. At which point should we hold Facebook accountable? For invading the privacy of the billions of people in the world? Absolutely. But, the people are the ones who should be held responsible for allowing this corrupted social media service for continuing to be let into their homes and their lives.

  11. Niall El-Adawy April 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm #

    The argument posed in the article that Facebook is the issue instead of the internet as a whole is a bit far fetched. While Facebook opens up the opportunity for the “problem” to take shape, that does not mean that Marc Zuckerburg and his website are responsible for the technological uprising of the 21st century, we are. We, the people, share the blame with Zuckerburg in the sense that we control our own free will. While Facebook has opened up doors to many things good and bad, there is no one forcing us to walk through these doors. People have control of their own free will, and can use what they want as they see fit, including Facebook. Granted, Marc Zuckerburg and his super-site still hold blame. in the article, the author mentions the “power [Zuckerburg] has acumulated,” and how he seems to toally disregard that. It is no secret that Facebook has been under legal fire in the lat few months for invasion of privacy, etc. This is no small blemish on record, it is much more serious. Marc Zuckerburg is fully aware of the power he possesses and how he holds 2.3 billion (and climbing) lives and all of the information that comes with them in his data towers. However, while Zuckerburg does hold a massive amount of the blame, some can be pushed back on us, the people. We have allowed Facebook into our lives as heavily as we do, whether we choose to be aware of the potential risks when building our Facebook account is on us, and continuing to bury our heads in social media even in light of the legal issues that Facebook faces gives blame to the people, and only the people.

  12. Claudia Ralph April 24, 2019 at 8:46 pm #

    I think that in Professor’s Shannon’s class we talk around this problem with Facebook in circles almost every single week. Facebook has single-handedly ruined the way that you and I use the internet every day and the protection of users of social media. Whether it be on our smartphones, tablets or computers, we face this issue every time we put in our passcodes.
    There is no doubt that what Facebook has built is beyond impressive. Amassing 2.3 billion users is no small feat. Facebook has easily solidified itself as one of or the most powerful social media networks out there.
    My problem with Facebook is exactly what the author of this article has with it, its CEO. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t my favorite person, and quite frankly, I don’t know anyone who likes him. Today in class we talked about Professor’s Shannon disdain for Mr. Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg has one concern: becoming rich and famous. And while Mr. Zuckerberg is both of those things, he will stop at nothing to get more.
    Facebook has the overwhelming potential to not only be fair, equitable and just, but Facebook could have a positive impact on the world by monitoring its content and not allowing its systems to support hindering in elections, terrorist attacks and mass genocide in all parts of the world. While Facebook can control what its users are seeing, it is not controlling the heinous content that is being permitted every day on its site. Let’s also not forget that Facebook now owns Instagram, which permits this kind of activity on that platform as well.
    This is my overlapping concern with Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg’s intention is to become rich and famous, more than he already is, and at the cost of ethical business practices. Instead of placing people at the forefront of his business’s practices, money is clouding the decisions that are being made to protect users. This also comes into play when data is involved as well. Facebook continues to capitalize on user data and market information that is shared with third parties.

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