In 2010, I wrote “The Social Network” and I know you wish I hadn’t. You protested that the film was inaccurate and that Hollywood didn’t understand that some people build things just for the sake of building them. (We do understand that — we do it every day.)
I didn’t push back on your public accusation that the movie was a lie because I’d had my say in the theaters, but you and I both know that the screenplay was vetted to within an inch of its life by a team of studio lawyers with one client and one goal: Don’t get sued by Mark Zuckerberg.
It was hard not to feel the irony while I was reading excerpts from your recent speech at Georgetown University, in which you defended — on free speech grounds — Facebook’s practice of posting demonstrably false ads from political candidates. I admire your deep belief in free speech. I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it’s a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong.
But this can’t possibly be the outcome you and I want, to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply that corrupt the most important decisions we make together. Lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children’s lives.”
David Lindsay: Here are the top, most recommened NYT comments, which I supported:
If Facebook is really about people joining together to share their lives, it should follow Twitter’s lead and ban all political advertising. People can still discuss politics and Facebook will survive without the revenue from those who would use its platform to disseminate lies. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.
When did free speech become synonymous with spreading lies for profit? When did antitrust laws disappear and corporations become we the people. When did it become ok to destroy truth if the price is right?
Bravo. Most in media are scared to attack facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg this honestly and directly. Hopefully this is a piece that will bring more voices to the fore…. Antitrust as we know it today must evolve…and do so quickly or we will all pay much more dearly…
Wishful thinking: No, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about the damage his site does. That’s clear from both his actions and his words. The only things that motivate him are greed and growth. A solution is to write the “law”, or un-write it: repeal the exemption from the Communications Decency Act (which ought have been called the Communications Indecency Act) that shields Facebook from liability for what it publishes. Then, with any luck at all, lawsuits will put Facebook out of business lickety-split.