Many thoughts are percolating after Mark Zuckerberg's historic first testimony yesterday before a House Committee. I'm preparing Tin Shingle's TuneUp on a Facebook Backup Plan for marketers and business owners, but below are my thoughts as first published to my own friends on Facebook, as I also prepare to scale way back on emotional moments I put into Facebook, and the photos of my family that I plan to remove:
Mark Zuckerberg’s Achilles Heel is that he thinks that data and the computing of that data can solve everything. He has a developer’s mind with a brain that works very much like a database, and that landscape is what he understands. When presented with the question today of if Facebook is a Tech company or a Publishing company, he picked Tech (I’m not even sure what “tech” means because all tech produces something outside of itself).
Facebook is a publishing company. People self-publish. There is no filter. No editor. Aside from a very few admins of groups, and still, selection is then up to their ethics and positions on censorship and filtering for good health.
Then, there are machine editors in the algorithms, and that circles back to data. Facebook is a publishing company. People publish to it largely uncensored. People become cannibals of their own minds by beating themselves up in their own minds, and beating each other up outwardly - but silently - semi-privately - on groups - or people’s pages or business pages. Facebook lets people become social cannibals, destroying each other. Even the good ones get inward and throw stones. Zuckerberg started Facebook as a place to rate people’s “hotness”. It started as a judgement zone. It remains so.
Businesses who are on to disseminate information are siphoned by Facebook and need to pay to play. But even those rules are skewed, and the people who want to see our businesses can’t when they want to. Unless they dig into Facebook settings to require that they see the information first. Same for friends and family.
I don’t see Facebook’s problems getting solved anytime soon because Zuckerberg is too database/computer driven, and not thoughtful enough. He has a responsibility as a publisher. He’s hands off, but he’s the enabler. Sheryl Sandberg is not empathetic enough to understand either. She learns with life experience, sadly, like the lesson she learned about bereavement leave when her husband passed. And Zuckerberg will too when his child gets addicted to Facebook or videos or to headlines the way all of us have. And then Zuckerberg will understand. But not until then. His choices, in the meantime, while well-meaning, are not ones I trust.
Don’t get me started on listening speakers. All I can tell you is - don’t let a talking speaker in your home. From any of them. Amazon. Facebook. Google. It’s an open listening device that can be tapped into, or more of your words sold for advertising and retargeting to market to you. Smart, machine-based marketing, but lazy marketing that trades on privacy currency.