Jason Kint, a longtime Facebook critic and CEO of the trade association DCN (Digital Content Next), challenged his followers to prove him wrong when he tweeted on Friday, “Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have done more harm to the world than anyone alive you can name.”
DCN has about 70 digital content publisher members in the U.S. and Europe, including the New York Times, ESPN, Washington Post, CBS, BBC, PBS and Financial Times.
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sandberg have admitted publicly that they have a lot of work to do to restore trust in the platform and combat abuse of it.
Kint is hardly the first Facebook critic to use hyperbole to describe the Facebook leaders. He may just be the most recent one to do so.
Chamath Palihapitiya, the former Facebook VP for user growth, said in 2018 that he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told a Stanford Graduate School of Business audience.
Facebook founding president Sean Parker described the addictive qualities of Facebook, saying social media provides a “social validation feedback loop (‘a little dopamine hit…because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post’) … you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
Kint presented 61 bullet points in a 13-tweet thread to back up his claim that the Facebook leaders have damaged the world more than any other people you can name, including the following:
- “sold ads to Russian operatives in Rubles during 2016 election
- knew political operative scraped user data, did nothing
- disclosed private moments of users on web
- enabled Russian interference in 2016 election
- congratulated Donald Trump personally
- asked large banks for detailed financial data on users
- helped build InfoWars before banning under pressure
- bent content rules to enable Donald Trump
- misled advertisers and publishers
- policy chief Kaplan starred at controversial Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation
- exposed users search history, location data thru access tokens
- facilitated disinfo in Brazilian election
- leaked private messages
- tracked users when not using app
- labeled “digital gangster” by Parliament
- facial recognition by default to identify friends
- tracks users who aren’t members of facebook
- lobbied heavily against global privacy laws
- spread post by US President inciting violence
- named in research reports for addiction
- shell companies to avoid billions in taxes
- threatened block of all news in Australia
- threatened EU exit if privacy restrictions
- board member met w white nationalists
- 1,000+ advertiser boycott”.
Twitter users challenged Kint with some ideas of their own about who has damaged the world more. Rupert Murdoch was the “winner” in an informal poll. Others who made the list include Mitch McConnell, Vladimir Putin, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping.
Dr. Ravi Chandra, a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and author of the book, “Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks,” offered a solution to manage the downsides of the social network.
“Log out of Facebook completely and take that ‘hard break,’” Chandra wrote in a 2018 Psychology Today column.
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