Facebook suffered another round of unfortunate PR this week when it lost over $100 billion in stock value in the wake of news that profits were expected to plummet for the foreseeable future thanks to ongoing privacy concerns and “fake news” hiccups.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, is reported to have lost north of $16 billion in the fallout — and the fact that Facebook has fully embraced progressivism has a lot to do with it.
The privacy concerns are real and something no rank-and-file Facebook user wants to encounter.
But I believe the “user disenchantment with Facebook Inc.,” as Bloomberg reported it, has less to do with privacy concerns and fake news and more to do with the overall user experience, which has been tinkered with to the point of absurdity by a paternalistic, progressive mindset.
Facebook’s notorious algorithm, which Zuckerberg uses to control what you see and don’t see, has unwittingly offered a window into why progressivism just doesn’t work. Instead of allowing people to control what they themselves want to see and consume, Zuckerberg and his employees at Facebook have instead taken it upon themselves to try to “create” the perfect “experience.”
Facebook employees have made themselves the arbiter of what is good and what is not, rather than leaving that for you to decide. They believe you are incapable of making that choice.
Just like political progressives believe you are incapable of figuring out your own health care insurance, or giving to charity, or saving for retirement, or spending your money wisely. That’s why they advocate government-run health care, social security, higher taxes, and more. Progressives simply believe they can do a better job with your money than you can.
Just take a look at the goals Zuckerberg laid out at the beginning of the year:
One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.We built…
In the post, he writes (emphasis mine):
“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.”
Why is Mark Zuckerberg concerned about my individual well-being? I mean, sure, don’t create Facebook posts that shoot flaming arrows out of my computer, but short of that, should what I click on Facebook be any concern of his? Shouldn’t he just want me clicking?
The underlying mindset behind the algorithm is progressive in nature: You don’t know what’s good for you, but we at Facebook sure do.
This is the exact same mentality progressive politicians have when viewing the world: All this unfettered capitalism provides so many options, but people just aren’t smart enough to make wise choices. Let’s make those choices for them.
I know what’s good for me, thank you very much, Mark.
If I click on a news outlet, it’s because I want to see content from that news outlet. If I friend someone, it’s because I want to see what they’re up to in life. If they end up posting one too many pictures of their tofu dinner, then perhaps I’ll reconsider following them — but that choice should be mine. I am capable and deserving of making my own decisions. But it seems progressives often disagree.
Zuckerberg, who once said he just wanted to “create something cool,” describing Facebook as “an online directory that connects people through universities and colleges” through their social networks, has now created a new and improved algorithm that operates like the helicopter parents you never had.
Want to see that post from Trump supporters Diamond and Silk? Sorry, the almighty algorithm has other plans.
Want to check out that Ben Shapiro debate? That sounds unsafe or harmful; we’ll pass.
It’s their right to do this, of course. But it’s going to ruin them, because just like the teenager frustrated with mom and dad’s rules, people will rebel and leave Facebook, or at least use it less. Zuckerberg is going to progress his company into the dustbin of history, because the moment a similar social media network that empowers individuals to make their own content choices comes along, people will flock to it.
Grown humans don’t like to be parented, especially by people — or computer algorithms — who are not their parents. So as long as Facebook keeps trying to alter what you consume, against your own wishes, keep expecting that stock to tumble.
And beyond the mere annoyance that Facebook is trying to be our adoptive parents, there’s the tiny sticking point that what Facebook desires is simply not possible to create. They want a perfect, safe world, but that just doesn’t exist.
Life is a mess, filled with mix-ups and mistakes and pain and hurt. We’re not supposed to be sheltered from those things by an algorithm, we’re supposed to learn from them. They help us grow, in empathy in understanding, and in unity.
This is the fatal flaw — among many flaws — in progressive ideology. Rather than accepting and dealing with the realities we find around us, progressive ideology tells us to create an alternative reality that simply does not exist and is incompatible with everything we know to be true.
Now that you’re tuned in to Zuckerberg’s progressive mindset, take another look at some of his comments:
The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.
Zuckerberg said he wants to “fix” these problems.
Perhaps he should take some advice from his very own mission statement, which he says is to “give power to the people.”
By employing a progressive ideology to address these issues, he’s achieved the exact opposite. He’s taken the power away from the people and put it in the hands of his almighty algorithm.
If Zuckerberg employed a more capitalistic approach and actually let people determine their own will as it relates to content choices, we’d see what we always see in capitalism. Incredible growth, innovation, compassion, freedom, and prosperity.