Early Facebook Investor And Zuckerberg Mentor: "I Feel My Baby Has Turned Out To Be Something Horrible"

Even if Facebook's stellar Q1 earnings report hadn't helped erase some of the losses that Facebook shares incurred in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sanderberg would still believe that the company's troubles are largely behind them and that the company had essentially repaired the damage done to its reputation.

That was the assessment delivered by early Facebook investor and one-time Zuckerberg mentor Roger McNamee, who warned during an appearance at an event organized by Quartz in Washington DC last week that the company's leaders are deeply complacent and still haven't accepted the fact that Facebook has badly mislead its users about how the company profits off their data.

Facebook

Despite Zuckerberg's warning, embedded in his opening statement to Congress earlier this month, that the company planned to make changes that could "significantly impact" profitability, McNamee believes it's likely Facebook is "going to get away" with the bad things that it has done, which is "particularly dangerous" considering the 2018 midterm elections are only months away. McNamee said he's deeply disappointed in how Zuckerberg and Sandberg have responded to the crisis by refusing to accept responsibility.

During their post-crisis media tour, both executives insisted on blaming Cambridge Analytica for "misleading" Facebook, even though Facebook never bothered to alert users whose data had been affected.

"They've done bupkis to protect us," McNamee said.

The whole affair has left McNamee - who considers his involvement with Facebook during its early days to be the "highlight of a long career" - deeply saddened.

"Every part of this has made me sadder and sadder and sadder. I feel like my baby has turned out to be something horrible, and these people I trusted and helped along have forgotten where they came from," he said in a conversation with Kevin Delaney, Quartz’s editor-in-chief.

McNamee has become an outspoken critic of the company, comparing its role in the 2016 US election to "the plot of a sci-fi novel" while at the same time admitting that he has "profited enormously" by backing Facebook early on. The organization he helped found, the Center for Humane Technology, has made it a mission to expose Facebook’s multiple flaws, and to try to fix them.

The longtime venture investor explained that he had started becoming disillusioned with Facebook long before the latest in string of scandals involving the company. During his talk, he echoed criticisms by early Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, who compared Facebook to "Internet crack" and said it's "ripping apart the social fabric of how society works."

Like Palihapitiya, McNamee believes Facebook isn't doing enough to mitigate the negative effects of social media addiction and misinformation spread on its platform. In other words, Facebook is sacrificing the well-being of its users in the name of uninterrupted growth.

It’s not just about the money, McNamee said, comparing his former protégé to a cult leader. "Zuckerberg believes he’s given the world a massive gift," he said, and the mentality at the company remains focused on becoming "the most important thing in the world."

Because of these issues, McNamee said the last 12 months have been "the most depressing of his life."

Of course, like Palihapitiya before him, McNamee's criticisms would carry a lot more heft if they were followed by action - perhaps establishing some kind of organization meant to combat social media's near-total influence over society. 

Still, McNamee is hardly alone: A recent survey revealed that nearly one-third of Americans believe Facebook has a negative impact on society. And with early indicators showing user engagement numbers starting to slip in the aftermath of the company's user-data scandal, perhaps we'll need to wait until the company's next batch of quarterly results to see how its users are responding to the latest user-data crisis.

* * *

Meanwhile, Facebook's campaign to win back the trust of its vast user base is manifesting in an advertising blitz that has already arrived in the corridors of New York City's subway system.

Comments

Endgame Napoleon Croesus Sat, 04/28/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

The problem is not that they collect information on users en mass that could be helpful to advertisers or to politicians for that matter.

It is the targeting of particular individuals, with identifying information sold to marketing firms. The apps have to make a profit, though, and they have a point that people understand that nothing in life is free.

If they just sold the data without identifying individuals by name, it would seem less invasive, but it would still help advertisers who do provide some jobs in the USA.

If X number of people ages 18 to 34 like something at X the rate, that should be as useful to marketers as named profiles of individuals with attached psychological profiles.

If marketers could just buy a list of emails, not linked to specific psychological theories about what users might buy, it would not be as invasive.

People know that marketers are just using the information to increase sales, but people have also worked in the extremely unprofessional workplaces, which are found all over the corporate world and government, regardless of how corporations spin the concept of “teams.”

They sure do churn these smiley-faced, chipper teams a lot.

My corporate jobs have included many groups of frequently absentee, bullying, immature, unprofessional-cubed moms. 

A good example is the manager in a meeting who felt free to say, “The prize for the baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contest is getting X employee down in the floor and smearing Vaseline all over her shiny, exfoliated face.”

That was just one professional “team.”

My governent job involved a so-called training class with a lot of screaming, potluck lunches and soft-porn films, in addition to a manager who later appeared on the local news, not in a good way.

Whether it is a government or marketing team, forgive us if we really do not want “the team members” who are all mature  professionals—no doubt—to access every little thing about us, including concocted psychological profiles, however irrational that might be.

Whether marketing teams are composed of 98% hip, pre-childbearing-aged, young women or 98% crony moms, enjoying extremely libertine absenteeism privileges for working parents, I doubt they are all professional when accessing that information. 

I doubt it, even if—especially if in many cases—they have umpteen-million cutesy baby pics on social media, showing off their working family. They are not all nice people, not in the context of work, anyway.

People know most of this marketing activity is bot-generated, but humans are also involved.  

 

 

In reply to by Croesus

Chris2 Croesus Sun, 04/29/2018 - 08:14 Permalink

When Craigslist was new I wondered how the hell can they make money, same with facebook.

Now we know.

I suspect all of them were started with CIA seed money, especially Elon Musk who's seed money was questionable. He developed some program to help newspapers with delivery. They bought it, except they already had it themselves. He shows up at PayPal Mafia who didn't need his money because they had Nokia as their deep pocket investor. At 25 yrs old with no experience they made him CEO. He was later fired by Peter Thiel.  They are all Jews and they are all CIA funded because they must control the flow of information and they knew the old media would give way to the internet.

Pax Judaica 100 yrs old began when they tried take down the Russian Czar in 1905. The seed was planted however in 1848 when the Communist Manifest by Karl Marx was first published.

In reply to by Croesus

t0mmyBerg nmewn Sat, 04/28/2018 - 21:31 Permalink

McNamee is the biggest fucking weaselly douchenozzle fucktwit I have ever seen.  CNBHasBeen gives him free reign to spout his moronic russian conspiracy bullshit and Carl "I just smile nicely but never have anything to say or any penetrating questions to ask because I am the token hispanic on this channel" Quintanilla just says thanks roger you are so right.  Except he isnt right about anything.  He is just a lucky been in the right place at the right time nothing with literally nothing of value to say.  Fuck off Roger.  Roger that.

In reply to by nmewn

Hollis_Mulwray t0mmyBerg Sun, 04/29/2018 - 01:12 Permalink

I have heard this hack for 20+ years, and the only thing that he has been right about is his good fortune on timing.  Otherwise, he is a nothing but a lazy thinker, soft spoken and slippery beta male with a well-crafted image.  Not much substance with McNamee, at all.  

And by the way, I have met this fraud, sat in the audience and listened to him speaking before and watched the entire Real Vision interview that this article discusses.  His excoriation of libertarianism in the interview displays a complete lack of what is the meaning of libertarianism or "self-governance".  His buying into the mainstream media logic shows either lazy thinking or his desire for acceptance by the chattering class - two things that are pathetic.  

Go watch the interview and then tell me that I am wrong.  

In reply to by t0mmyBerg

Chris2 nmewn Sun, 04/29/2018 - 07:40 Permalink

He (they) knew exactly what they were doing, exploiting human psychology. Which is why Zuckerberg studied psychology at Harvard.

Chamath Palihapitiya born Sept 3, 1976

Billionaire

Palihapitiya joined AOL and rose through the ranks to become the head of AOL's instant messaging division in 2004.[2] In 2005, he left AOL and joined Mayfield Fund; a few months later he left that job and joined Facebook, which was then a little more than a year old.[2] Palihapitiya's work at Facebook involved trying to increase its userbase.[3] Palihapitiya says that when he joined Facebook he had contempt for people who merely write code, but that his experience at Facebook led him to revise his beliefs.[4] One of the things Palihapitiya admired about Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's principal founder and CEO, was Zuckerberg's lack of ego and ability to make business decisions dispassionately.[

Criticism of Facebook and social media

In November 2017, Palihapitiya revealed that, for ethical reasons, he regrets having helped Facebook to become the largest social media platform.[22] He said, “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other. I can’t control them. I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit”

There is an interview with him on youtube where he says "We knew what we were doing and we did it anyway."

In reply to by nmewn

ZIRPdiggler Sat, 04/28/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

Well McNamee...."your baby" was a DARPA project from the gitgo called "LifeLog". It's certainly not a coincidence that LifeLog came to an end on Feb 4, 2004 and Facebook was born on Feb 5th, 2004. Literally the next day.  None of the technocrat surveillance infrastructure is authentic American ingenuity.

bluez D503 Sun, 04/29/2018 - 03:39 Permalink

I guess there is a little Zuckerberg in all of us.

I never joined the Herd. It begins with baseball. They taught them to run around in circles like idiots.

When at school I refused to cite the pledge of allegiance, I told them it meant nothing if I couldn't refuse.

When they ask me on the telephone to answer questions that will "influence public policy" I demand that they tell me about themselves. Why do they need to know more about me than I need to know about them? It's called info-equity.

In reply to by D503

Alexander De Large Sat, 04/28/2018 - 21:29 Permalink

Irish guy, saying "bupkis".

Irish guy who says "bupkis" and is shocked and afeared that his baby of a company he invested in is turning into something horrible that is tracking and enslaving the goyim.

This is what happens when you can't say what the problem is, folks.  

"Bupkis"

Geeezuss Christ.  There is no hope.

Endgame Napoleon Alexander De Large Sun, 04/29/2018 - 00:14 Permalink

These social media companies are not enslaving anyone. You can delete your account. You have free will.

The whole internet apparatus, however, as used by big corporations and big government, is trying to control people in a way.

Someone on here pointed out that companies and government—the elite—are trying to use the internet to eliminate any risk they face in this economy, where wealth is so concentrated, while the plebes are losing everything, not just their middle-class lifestyles, but privacy and, in some cases, free speech.

It seems like there is a tricky problem for social media companies at the place where free speech crosses the line, and online bullies target named individuals, trying to smear specific, ordinary individuals.  

People can satirize famous people. And they can gossip about ordinary people all day long in real life to a point, but they cannot do that in the Letters to the Editor section of a newspaper.

Sometimes, when these social media corporations are policing free speech, they might really just be watching their own backs, money-wise. 

In reply to by Alexander De Large

bluez Endgame Napoleon Sun, 04/29/2018 - 03:52 Permalink

No you cannot "delete" your account. You can only delete your own access -- you can never delete their's.

You think I would reveal all to some giant corporate monstrosity? Eat at McDonald's?

You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave. Free will is only a modern invention that puts all the blame on you. In the end you get nothing back.

Look up. See that camera?

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

Consuelo Sat, 04/28/2018 - 21:31 Permalink

Pretty obvious none of this has affected anyone with their lives still wrapped around the idiocy of social media.    Then again, F.A. Hayek...

JLarryL Sat, 04/28/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

What's funny is, people like Mr. McNamee make fortunes off these beasts they help unleash on the world. Then, years later, they act all holy, surprised that their creation has turned towards capitalistic ends in a capitalist society. Credibility: low.

Chief Joesph Sat, 04/28/2018 - 22:15 Permalink

What is not being said here is that Mylife.com took much of the data that Cambridge Analytica had gotten from Facebook, and made profiles of everyone from it, and post your profiles online, for anyone to buy and access. Yet, they have a disclaimer they will never share data with Facebook, (sure!!! haven't you heard that before???), when in fact, they took much of the data from Facebook to begin with.  Here are the complaints against Mylife.com:  https://www.bbb.org/losangelessiliconvalley/business-reviews/informatio…

Vlad the Inhaler Sat, 04/28/2018 - 22:18 Permalink

Listened to an interview with this guy, what the article doesn't mention is that the reason he is upset with Facebook is that he believes Russians "hacked" the election using social media, stupid fuck.

silverer Sat, 04/28/2018 - 22:30 Permalink

Americans that decide to stay on Facebook deserve everything they get because of it, now that they have been "enlightened". But I see most users are still stupid as a rock.

AurorusBorealus Sat, 04/28/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

Facebook is nothing more than a digital photo album, and its value is near $0.  I have a Facebook page that I check once in a while.  Almost no one posts on there now, except for ridiculous selfies.  I have only seen two of my male Facebook friends post anything on Facebook in the past 2 years.  Facebook's internal algorithms that determine what displays on each user's screen ensure that nothing except baby pictures and selfies appear.  No one, not even self-absorbed teens, will spend more than a few minutes every day looking at their friends' selfies.

No one has to do anything to "fix" Facebook.   5 years from today, no one will be using Facebook except middle-aged women who use it once a month to reminisce by looking at pictures from when they were attractive or when their children were young.

 

helloimjohnnycat AurorusBorealus Sun, 04/29/2018 - 04:56 Permalink

Those mid-age sluts don't need to waste another minute sitting on their fat asses.

Keeping it firm & tight is the key. The resultant physical health will keep the face looking right, naturally. Add a little sunshine & they got IT.

Yes, the data mining attacks women re their looks.

Buy this, Buy THAT, WAIT...New & Improved is HERE,  with subliminal messaging that today's purchases will require greater expenditures in order to remain " young ".

Therefore, failure, not success is being driven constantly into their tweaked minds.

Doesn't everybody know the score by now ?  They should.

Sad.

Damned women wasting all their money for nothing products yields more unhappiness and creates a never ending loop of negative feelings.

joos have had the game figured out forever. Look around, American bimbos continue to be suckered & fail.

 

 

In reply to by AurorusBorealus