On October 17, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed students at Georgetown University in Washington. The main topic of the 35-minute keynote speech was freedom of speech on the social network. Thus, Zuckerberg responded to numerous criticisms of misinformation and violation of data privacy on Facebook, and also turned to American politicians in absentia – in October he was again summoned to a hearing in Congress.
In the speech, Zuckerberg emphasized that he remains committed to the principles of freedom of speech, and Facebook “provides a voice to everyone, including those who are not heard, which encourages society to improve.” According to Zuckerberg, that’s why the company does not tighten control in the social network, including by allowing political advertising on the platform: “It seems to me that in a democracy, it would be wrong for private companies to censor politicians or edit news.”
We can continue to uphold freedom of expression, understanding that problems will arise, but maintaining the belief that in the long run for the sake of progress we will have to engage in an open dialogue with ideas that challenge us. Or we can simply decide that the danger is too great [and tighten control].
I am here today because I believe that we must uphold freedom of speech.Mark ZuckerbergFacebook founder
Zuckerberg also saw a danger to freedom of speech in Chinese social networks and applications, which year after year only become more popular. “Ten years ago, almost all the major Internet platforms were American. Now six out of ten are Chinese. And while protesters and activists use our services like WhatsApp, TikTok, a Chinese application, censors the same protests even in the United States. Is this the Internet we want? ”, Said the head of Facebook.
But the most unexpected thing for journalists was the part of the speech where Zuckerberg presented a new version of what inspired him to create a social network. According to him, Facebook also emerged from the desire to “give everyone a vote” after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
When I was in college, our country only unleashed a war in Iraq. An atmosphere of mistrust reigned on campus. It seemed that we [as a country] acted without listening to important points of view. The losses were heavy for soldiers and families, we could not stop this. I remember this feeling that if everyone could speak out, then perhaps everything would go differently.
Then I created an early version of Facebook for my community, and began to see how my beliefs began to play a role there.Mark ZuckerbergFacebook founder
Zuckerberg’s statement about the role of the Iraq war in creating Facebook caused a lot of criticism from journalists and bloggers. For example, Bloomberg employee Sarah Freer and Mashable accused the social media founder of trying to quietly rewrite the history of the company. Other Twitter users have joined her.
Critics’ position – Zuckerberg wants to hide the well-known moments of the creation of Facebook, including those where the social network is not displayed in the most favorable light, having come up with an originally noble goal. Among them:
- Creation in 2003 of Facemash – a site for evaluating Harvard students in appearance. Soon the site was closed due to a violation of the privacy of students – Zuckerberg hacked into hostel catalogs to get a photo. Facemash is called the “progenitor of Facebook,” but Zuckerberg denies this;
- In 2010, Business Insider published fragments of Zuckerberg’s correspondence with his friend Adam Diangelo. According to excerpts, before launching Facebook, the entrepreneur considered the platform primarily a dating site;
- The Winklevoss brothers, who studied with Zuckerberg, claimed that back in 2002 they came up with the Harvard Connection social network and two years later they asked him to help with the development. Zuckerberg allegedly agreed, but dragged on the work, and then launched Facebook with the same idea at the core. The brothers went to court and received $ 68 million in 2008;
- Zuckerberg himself in 2018 said : “You know, ten years ago I was just trying to unite students from different colleges.”
Some users added that director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin should now re-shoot the film “Social Network”: there the story of Facebook just started with Facemash and the Winklevoss deception, but the Iraq war was not mentioned.
I think Aaron Sorkin needs to write a sequel to The Social Network. A look at the super rich and how they manipulate broad public opinion, use spy networks to protect their own image, and rewrite their own personal narrative in the public mind, and in their own.— Jim Huffaker (@jayfaker) 17 October 2019
I think that Aaron Sorkin now needs to write a sequel to the Social Network. To look at the rich man who manipulates the masses, uses spy networks to protect his image and rewrites his own story in a public creation (and in his own)