Not so long ago, Facebook had to deal with a scandal about their user’s personal data being sold.
Ignoring the fact that every single person who signed up for Facebook accepted terms and conditions allowing pretty much exactly that and more, one question remained: Is this ethical?
But I’m not here to debate that today. I’m more interested in the hearing itself, and the reactions to it.
On one side, you have the Creator of the biggest social media Platform in the world, who is one of the richest people on the planet, and whose product is probably one of the most powerful data gathering, data analysis and social influence tools in the world, and who might be secretly a robot lizard.
On the other, you have a bunch of old dudes who have been working in law, politics and justice for decades, who have no clue how Facebook works, but who know extremely well that something bad is happening, and have the power to stop it;
Naturally, you will see both sides doing their thing again. Lots of people are quick to criticize the questions asked, because they often show an enormous lack of understanding of the subject, or even computers in general. On the other side, you will see people who are pointing at every tell in the book to “prove” that Zuckerberg is lying the whole time, and ask to lock him up for his inability to answer the questions efficiently.
That just textbook confirmation bias right there. Nothing interesting or new.
But there is one thing that caught my attention. As you probably know, I follow lots of sources that I completely disagree with on every point, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. I like reading things I find ridiculous or think are straight up lies, for two reasons. First, it’s because I am doing my best to avoid being in an echo chamber. Secondly, it’s because whenever I have to argue my own points, I like to know how my opponents think.
And during the hearing period, I have seen a specific clip, completely unedited, showing Ted Cruz asking political questions to Mark Zuckerberg, specifically about Facebook censorship of conservative voices, shared by both sides of the political Spectrum several times, telling a completely different story.
I often see both sides cherry picking. Conservatives will share “interviews” of protesters failing to answer basic easy questions all the time, to show how they are all stupid. Liberals will share videos of racists at every turn, to show how old white males are all evil. But it was the first time I saw them both sharing the same clip for that purpose.
Conservative sources usually had captions along the lines of “Ted Cruz DESTROYS Zuckerberg during hearing”, because Zuckerberg either didn’t know what to answer, or failed to provide the relevant data, to most of Cruz’s questions.
Liberal sources were more along the lines of “Zuckerberg can’t deal with those stupid questions anymore”, showing the exact same clip, but this time referring to the irrelevance of political alignment questions in the hearing, and how conservatives are paranoid to the point of harassment.
Maybe both are right, and maybe both are wrong. It just completely shocked me to see the same cherry-picked clip of the hearing shared by both sides to push completely opposed agendas.
Maybe it’s impossible to ever reverse the level of political divide in America. As Scott Adams would say, everyone is living in their own movie made by their own mind that barely fits reality enough to let them function correctly, but not enough to be considered accurate.