Of all the evils Facebook has been involved in – it’s been implicated in genocide – spouting bullshit is fairly far down the list. But Mark Zuckerberg’s latest speech is a great example of how you shouldn’t trust the company to tell you what time it is, let alone fight for truth and justice.
Here’s how Zuckerberg described the origins of Facebook.
When I was in college, our country had just gone to war in Iraq. The mood on campus was disbelief. It felt like we were acting without hearing a lot of important perspectives. The toll on soldiers, families and our national psyche was severe, and most of us felt powerless to stop it. I remember feeling that if more people had a voice to share their experiences, maybe things would have gone differently. Those early years shaped my belief that giving everyone a voice empowers the powerless and pushes society to be better over time.
Back then, I was building an early version of Facebook for my community, and I got to see my beliefs play out at smaller scale.
I’m not taking this out of context: the full speech is on Facebook’s newsroom page. It attempts to put Facebook in a lineage that also includes Martin Luther King Jr and the Black Lives matter movement.
Isn’t that wonderful? Mark created Facebook because of the Iraq War and his passion for justice.
Except he didn’t. He created Facebook – then called Facemash – so people could vote on people’s pictures and decide how fuckable they were, with particular emphasis on humiliation. As he blogged at the time:
I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 pm and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland dormitory facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendiedous [sic] facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of some farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.
…Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals …), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.
Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
People just submitted it.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know why.
Martin Luther King Jr he ain’t.