US businessman and investor Roger McNamee has claimed that there is “no way on God’s green earth” that Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will ever give the go-ahead to a stricter regulation of the social giant of his own free will. McNamee reportedly was an early investor in Facebook and a mentor to Zuckerberg in the social platform’s founding days.
The remarks are part of McNamee’s book titled “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe”, which was released last month and contained, in particular, the author’s thoughts on Zuckerberg, who was described by media outlets as McNamee’s former protégé.
McNamee praised Zuckerberg as “precocious” person, who had “exceptional entrepreneurial skills at an unusually young age”, adding that he at first “enjoyed his company”.
At the same time, McNamee asserted that nowadays, the Facebook CEO had a sort of messiah-style belief in his own work, which is based on a push for “efficiency”.
“[Mark] looks at the world through his own lens. He thinks that the thing he is doing is the most important thing anyone could be doing right now. He has more people using his product every month than there are citizens in any country; he’s larger than the largest religions. And he has concluded from this that Facebook no longer should be controlled by any sovereign nation”, the author argued.
He claimed that Zuckerberg “has been very effective for the most part” since he went to Washington in 2018, learning “a lot about politics in the last two years”.
McNamee described Facebook’s decision to exempt politicians from its fact-checking programme as an attempt to wriggle into Washington’s favour and protect the social network from unwanted regulation.
The author remained downbeat about the self-regulatory measures that the company has adopted since 2016, adding, “I don’t believe that Facebook has made any changes that mean anything […] this was mostly about trying to appear to be cooperative without actually being cooperative”.
Zuckerberg Defends Facebook's 'New Approach'
McNamee’s remarks came as Zuckerberg upheld Facebook’s principle of free expression at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Utah in early February; he argued that the company plans to change its previous approach of not doing anything deemed “too offensive” amid increased censorship calls.
Despite the proposed change of direction, Facebook’s founder insisted that the company still has a responsibility to remove content related to child exploitation, violence, or terrorism from its platform.
“We're going to take down the content that's really harmful, but the line needs to be held at some point”, Zuckerberg stated. He also defended the use of encryption in Facebook messaging services that potentially prevents third parties from accessing communications sent between users.
Earlier, the social platform refused to remove political ads that may contain misinformation, citing its policy of free speech and the right of users to make up their own minds about the agendas of politicians.
This prompted a strong backlash from former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called Zuckerberg's stance “authoritarian” and aimed at helping her 2016 presidential rival Donald Trump get re-elected by refusing to tackle alleged misinformation and propaganda.