Another week another stinging put down for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his team after they were labeled “morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide,” by John Edwards, New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner, following the Christchurch attacks.
Harsh criticism, but it’s just another day in the office for Zuckerberg, who seems to be losing credibility and market share by the hour as Facebook’s leader.
The comments came after Zuckerberg said he wouldn’t disable the platform’s livestreaming service, despite it being used by maniac Brenton Tarrant to record and broadcast his attack against two mosques in Christchurch that left 50 men, women and children dead.
Writing on Twitter Edwards said:
They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions.
[They] allow the livestreaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm.
The tweets have since been deleted (but were grabbed by CCN, below), but the sentiment is clear and it echoes what millions already feel about the social media giant – it wields too much power, and doesn’t really no how to control it.
Despite the Christchurch massacre, Zuckerberg told ABC’s Good Morning America that removing livestreaming from its service would “fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people”.
He even refused to enable technology that would place a delay on the service, to allow Facebook to block extreme content before it went live.
Most people are livestreaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can’t be together. It’s one of the things that’s magical about livestreaming is that it’s bi-directional, right? So you’re not just broadcasting. You’re communicating. And people are commenting back. So if you had a delay, that would break that.”
Zuckerberg also said his company has systems in place to stop murderers like Tarrant from publicizing attacks – a claim again slammed by Edwards, who took to Twitter to claim no such sustems existed.
Edwards told Newshub:
[Zuckerberg] can’t actually tell us, or won’t tell us, how many suicides are livestreamed, how many murders, how many sexual assaults. I asked Facebook exactly that last week, and they simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us.”
Harsh, yes. True? Absolutely. Here are the facts:
It took Facebook 29 minutes to remove the horrific livestream of the killings. How many people viewed it in that time?
It took Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, two weeks to even respond to the people of New Zealand after the attacks were broadcast on its platform – and how did she do it, a live TV interview? Nope, she wrote a letter to the New Zealand Herald.
Plus, it took the company three months, focus groups and consultations with academics, before it decided to ban hateful white nationalist propaganda.
It’s clear Mark Zuckerberg and his management team are still playing catch up when it comes to adapting to make its platform fit for purpose, and even in the face of atrocities like Christchurch, it’s not prepared to change its service if it risks denting the company’s balance sheet.