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A longtime venture capitalist, McNamee made a key early investment in the company, and served as a mentor to a young Mark Zuckerberg, who was then agonizing about whether to sell his creation or keep running it himself. His new book Zucked is a cri de coeur against a corporation and a chief executive who he thinks have badly lost their way.
You said that you first started to really have misgivings about Facebook in the run-up to the election, when you noticed a series of suspicious-looking memes that were denigrating Hillary Clinton — at which point facebook now realized that outside groups were manipulating the platform. Things that seemed legit, that seemed associated with the Sanders campaign. But the viral spread of them, where one day one of my friends was in that group, the next day four of my friends, facebook now day after that, eight of my friends … there was something about it facebook now said to me: And then they were sharing stuff.
You know, they had a reputation, the Bernie bros. But it just seemed too intense. I had no idea what it meant, but it got stuck in my head, and so, when a month later we had the report about that group that used Facebook advertising tools to gather data on people expressing an interest in Black Lives Matter, and then they were selling those names to police departments?
That was obviously evil. They expelled the group. But obviously the damage had been done, the data was sold to police departments, and harassment could take place. And that just struck me as completely not fitting my perception of what Facebook was all about, which was facebook now and babies.
So you warned Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. And then in August, we hear about Manafort, so we need to introduce the Russians into the equation. Facebook now then in October, we hear about Facebook using its ad tools to enable people in the housing market to discriminate in violation of the Fair Housing Act. You must engage. You gotta protect the people who use your product.
And so after that, I became an activist. Do you think Zuckerberg and Sandberg have made any progress on the stuff you warned about? From the point of view of the audience, Facebook is as threatening as ever. Because if you think about the ad model — in a traditional ad model, you collect data in order to improve your product or service, with respect to the customers that you have.
At Facebook now and Google, they collect data in order to essentially create new products that facebook now advantage of the weakness of the audience. They need your attention. To get your attention, they appeal to low-level emotions like outrage and fear, and they tickle you with rewards, things like notifications. And those things are really habit-forming. Is this ad-based business model, which is the foundation of so many of these important internet companies, fundamentally flawed, in your view?
Is there a more benevolent way of doing it? To be clear, I think there was always a facebook now more benevolent way of doing this, and Facebook now wish facebook now had gone there. And Mark realized that he could provide authenticated identity, and in the early days, that, I felt, was the most exciting thing. He also gave people genuine privacy control.
But as they started to grow, they found a business model that really did require this surveillance, and they realized that there were no limits at all. The more friction they could get rid of, the faster they would grow. To me, the miracle is that they got all the way to 2 billion active users before any problems showed up. If they had a more traditional advertising business, I think everything would be fine. You know facebook now I would do? I think the best way to solve this problem from a policy point of view is facebook now do what we did with the chemical industry, which is to facebook now — there are all these externalities that come from your success, all this damage that right now society is paying?
You have to pay all of that. And that would change the incentives pretty quickly. It gets very nebulous. Well, yes and no. Because remember, some of the harm shows up at the individual level, so if everybody has the ability to sue for what they think the facebook now to them was …. I mean, a lot of this is letting litigation take its course. I suspect that estimating the facebook now of a Rohingya life in Myanmar would facebook now up producing the same kind of horrible outcome you got in Bhopal.
And so it would be better to make them do something. Thirty-four years as a professional tech investor, studying this stuff day and night, being at these companies as they created these models in the early days.
These people were never elected, they are not accountable, and yet they have the most important voice in our politics. Every candidate is running zemial necrolatry games or her campaign on Instagram. Of course it does. Do you think that Facebook can develop into the kind of company you want it to be with him in charge?
The problem is …. Do you really? No, hang on. Now doing it is another whole animal. And the doing requires a dramatic change to the business model. I get it. This thing that I believed in so much is deeply flawed, and I owe everybody. I do need to fix it. Then you have to actually effect the change. And that would be difficult, but like I said, I think he has the gravitas inside the company to persuade people: And, you know, we still have a huge awareness-building campaign to complete, and we have to get the people in power up to speed.
But we just elected 40 freshmen members of Congress where the average age is like, 40, right? I think there are members on both sides who get how important it is to do something here. We have the power to withdraw some or all of our attention facebook now these guys, and they need that facebook now to make this model work.
Facebook has seen a really significant decline in hours of use per month per user in North America in the last year. And that gives you some hope. And I think people have a difficulty reconciling facebook now with the strange figure he cuts in public.
Step back for just a second, think about that mission statement: His goal is to connect the entire world on a network of his making. And he perceives that that goal is so obviously important that it justifies whatever means are required to get there. Now, there are two flaws in that mission: And, you know, Mark is facebook now authoritarian, right? This is a company with two classes of stock, where he has absolute control. The same is true with Google, you know, Larry and Sergey have absolute control.
You can never afford to be on the wrong side of power. And for that reason, these guys are really scary in the political realm. Does it seem unlikely to facebook now that he would ever step down from the thing he created? Would you even want him to? Which would you pick? And shame on me. There were probably a number of opportunities to see it that I missed. I did, actually. Okay, facebook now did you see the Gayle King thing?
I thought that that was a surprising thing to bring up. I have enormously high regards for the talent of both Mark and Sheryl. And I actually give them the benefit of the doubt on their motives. I think they got here by degrees, and then a filter bubble built up inside Facebook, and they were so convinced of the merits of their objective that they stopped being able to see the facebook now properly.
And they stopped being able to see the people who facebook now their products as individuals with a right to self-determination.
They became a metric. But we can always pray, right? This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. He seemed confused about the structure and purpose of organizations and became overwhelmed when meetings covered multiple subjects. He blamed immigrants for nearly every societal problem and uttered racist sentiments with shocking callousness. In the early months of the Trump administration, with time of my life ms mr president no longer running his family business, his eldest sons embarked on a plan to roll out two new hotel lines in dozens of American cities.
Plans for the two hotel chains, Scion and American Idea, are to be shelved indefinitely, most likely for the remainder of the presidency. As a practical matter, that means calling off just one agreement, in Mississippi, though two years ago the Trump Organization said it had as many as 30 potential deals in the pipeline. Ahead of national emergency declaration, DOJ steps in to tell president the move will be blocked, at least temporarily.
By declaring a national emergency at the border, the president could potentially free up billions of dollars to begin work on construction of a southern border wall. Much of that money would be pulled from the Department of Defense.