Grado de dificultad: 3 (Por el idioma)

Columnista: Roberto

Thanks to “AOC”, we get an opportunity to talk about some “technological progress” issues that only nerds seem to have identified. Some people simply ignore what ethics means.

Facebook is not about nerds

Since there are now about 2.3 billion active Facebook accounts around the world, there is a high probability that you, who read that article, own one.

Of course, in society chats, it’s not trending to admit it. Officially, the Americans are not fond of Facebook anymore.

Mine is rather new. I had to activate one when I started to work with TMN (or should I say “on” TMN, because I saw the blog born).

It was however without any doubt that I activated it: how else would I get people to read the blog?

The problem is not with Facebook’s public, but with its directive board, namely Mark Zuckerberg.

People tend to think that all nerds are alike, I mean, people that don’t consider themselves as nerds.

Just imagine that nerds are normal people, with a passion for science or tricky stuff.

That is the main specificity they have in common, and, yes, it tends to alter a bit their perception of the world (in a less approximate way).

Otherwise, they are as diverse as any other part of humanity. About ethics, among other issues.

About two very different nerds

Enters Mark Zuckerberg

On one end, is Mark Zuckerberg, a powerful mogul, a nerd, undoubtedly.

Mark Zuckerberg at Financial Service Committee - Origen desconocido

He recently issued a weird speech at Georgetown University (official FB transcription below):

Personal note and opinion: It’s a typical libertarian statement, getting rid of any concern or contradiction.

It reminds me of a French quote « Ce qui se conçoit bien s’énonce clairement », from Nicolas Boisleau (17th century).

What a lengthy and complicated statement of him, in opposition!

However, the timing of this intervention was not exactly clever: he was a few days from appearing at the “House Committee on Financial Services” to talk about his “Libra” cryptocurrency project.

Or, maybe, he though it would shuffle the card deck. Could have worked with normal politicians, not with another nerd…

After all, he is used to lead this business undisputed.

Enters Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On the other end is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Let me be clear: she is one of TMN’s preferred nerds.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - Getty Images

She earned it because she has all we care about: She is sharp, straight, and painfully honest.

And she is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services that what summoning Facebook’s CEO.

Then, the following exchange takes place:

It’s all about credibility

It starts with “Libra” cryptocurrency project

For many, this video can seem dazzling…

I may be useful to explain was happened in this exchange, not so much about the content (a bit, though) but about the line of questioning.

First, let me remind you what it is about: Facebook wants to launch “Libra” a new cryptocurrency (just like Bitcoin).

People know little about the true reason why Bitcoin’s value skyrocketed.

That truth is ugly: since it’s beyond any control of any government and regulation entity, it’s the perfect currency for the infraworld (drug/weapons/prostitution traffic, pedophilia, and so on).

Why would “Libra” be different? The (very) shady reputation of Facebook’s with greed doesn’t speak in its favor – at all.

“Let us see if you are trustful”

Of course, Rep. Cortez doesn’t work alone. She is the one who sustains the results of a team effort.

She has, however, a very specific way to address issues, far more nerdy than political, and clearly hers.

Her tactic is simple and devastating at the same time.

There is that basic rule: any question has a default answer. Not answering the question validates that answer.

Therefore, it always preferable to answer, first in a short way, then in a more elaborate one if necessary.

In her case, she asks questions that have a clear and already known answer.

In short, she is not exactly asking, she is just checking how the questioned person will answer.

She will face two radically different reactions:

  • Some will answer in a very simple way, “yes” or “no”.
  • Others will try to avoid the answer. And doing so, they instantly drown.

It is not sure if this will convince the committee, but it was damning.

Business and Ethics

I have very different opinions on the Facebook community, and on the way it is managed and manipulated.

I consider it is managed in an irresponsible way (maybe they are, simply, socially and ethically incompetent).

The Georgetown speech unwillingly highlights that ineptitude.

Apart from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook made previous disturbing experiments on manipulation:

Facebook emotion experiment sparks criticism

Facebook sorry – almost – for secret psychological experiment on users

So, this is not the first time.

The questioning of AOC was about Zuckerberg’s ability to identify when Facebook puts its users in danger.

He simply failed to see it in real time, on a concrete and simple example.

I must admit, though, that it could also mean that he was so scared by her that he simply got mentally paralyzed.

Who knows?

However, Mark Zuckerberg’s behavior is not different from that of other wealthy people.

When your life has always be about silencing your sense of ethics, can you pretend to be a freedom advocate?

I don’t think so.