Facebook Exec Admits the Company Has Too Much Power
He worries, talking with an undercover reporter, that Zuckerberg is 36 and is “the ruler” of two billion people
In a video titled “KING ZUCK: Facebook Global Planning Lead Reveals Dire Need For Government Intervention In Facebook” (March 15, 2021), we hear an insider’s view from Benny Thomas, Facebook’s Global Planning Lead — who told what he knew to a Project Veritas undercover reporter.
From the undercover interview:
Benny Thomas: I’ll make less money but it will be a better thing for the world. Facebook and Google are too powerful and they need to be made less powerful … It needs to be broken up the way the telecom companies were broken up and the oil companies were broken up.
No king in the history of the world has been the ruler of two billion people. And he’s 36. [a reference to Mark Zuckerberg]
Thomas appears to be referencing the fact that, over a century ago, a number of American conglomerates were broken up in a similar way, via antitrust legislation. He continues:
There is always built-in bias because this is the myth that computer programmers told us which is: Oh, these are computers. Computers don’t have bias. There’s always built-in [algorithmic] bias…Guess what? Human beings wrote that code.
Thomas goes on to express concerns about algorithms that enable a racist politician to identify racist voters and then about what happens when AI grows beyond human intelligence and “at that point, humans are expendable.”
The second concern Thomas expresses, about super-intelligent AI, is probably not a real-world threat. But if a person has long marinated in a Silicon Valley culture so tightly controlled by a few billionaires as Thomas has, it isn’t hard to see how the idea might sound plausible.
Project Veritas taped a second conversation with Thomas in which he talked about top Facebook brass’s interest in a new form of eugenics via gene editing technologies: “It’s the Singularity is what the future is going to look like.”
In the end, as filmed and narrated in the video linked above, Thomas refused to formally go on record as endorsing his comments in the conversation. Perhaps that’s no surprise: Project Veritas adds in a mailer: “It is truly remarkable that a top executive at a Big Tech company is calling for serious action to be taken against his own organization.” So the viewer must decide if his informal comments sound authentic and reliable.
Whether government has either the will or the ability to do anything at present is unclear. As reported by Joseph A. Wulfsohn at Fox News:
Thomas added that he expected various lawsuits Facebook is facing to ‘drag on for years and years’ and predicted that ‘nothing is going to happen’ in terms of government intervention because politicians will ‘just keep fighting.’
It is difficult, currently, to find out much about Benny Thomas on the internet. This we can say for sure, however. He isn’t alone.
But there has been quite a lot of disquiet expressed by many leaders around the world, from the President of Mexico, to Alexei Navalny in Russia, and Chancellor Angela Merkel and others saying: ‘private companies have got too much power and they should be only making these decisions in a way that is framed by democratically agreed rules.’ We agree with that. We agree with that. Mark [Zuckerberg] could be very clear about that. That ideally, we wouldn’t be taking [censorship] these decisions on our own. We would be taking these decisions in line with and in conformity with democratically agreed rules and principles. At the moment, those democratically agreed rules don’t exist. We still have to take decisions in real time.
Some takeaway points as the story develops:
● With respect to Facebook in general, many people are paying a high price in terms of constant monitoring for their chance to stay in touch with family and friends for free. Their data is harvested, with what effect on themselves they do not know.
● Project Veritas is on many conventional media outlets’ naughty list. Take, for example, the Wikipedia entry: “produces deceptively edited videos of its undercover operations, which use secret recordings to allege misconduct and corruption in mainstream media organizations and progressive groups. Project Veritas uses entrapment to generate negative publicity for its targets, and has propagated disinformation and conspiracy theories in its videos and operations.” Most of these sorts of allegations against Project Veritas, sourced, will turn out to be questionable or baseless. You can read similar claims here and here. In any event, PV puts its material online; you can judge for yourself.
In its exposés, Project Veritas is essentially doing what conventional mainstream media did in the 1960s: Hold the powerful to account. The same things were said about mainstream media back then as are said about Project Veritas today.
What’s changed is that, today, conventional mainstream media mostly fill a different role in society — accommodating citizens to (usually) progressive government, assisted by Big Social Media. Project Veritas is a problem mainly to the extent that the stories it uncovers do not usually provide support for continuing uncritical accommodation. Somewhat the way traditional media did decades ago.
Denyse O’Leary is a freelance journalist based in Victoria, Canada. Specializing in faith and science issues, she has published two books on the topic: Faith @ Science and By Design or By Chance? She has written for publications such as The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and Canadian Living. She is co-author, with neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul.
For more breaking news about the interface of natural & artificial intelligence, visit MindMatters.AI.
Copyright 2021 Mind Matters.