Zuckerberg’s chilling ambitions
MARK Zuckerberg has hit out at Apple in an escalating war of words with CEO Tim Cook, who last week criticised Facebook for violating users' "human right" to privacy.
The Apple boss last week slammed the social network for selling people's data to third parties, amid growing controversy over how Facebook operates.
"You know, I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib," Mr Zuckerberg said in an interview published by Vox today. "And not at all aligned with the truth."
He took a swipe at Apple's notoriously expensive products, adding that Facebook was "squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use" and "if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford."
The Facebook founder is fighting to wrest back control of the data breach scandal alarming the world, but his ambitions for the social network are nothing short of chilling.
The founder of the world's most popular social platform outlined his ambitions for Facebook to act as a democratic system, with an independent "Supreme Court", which people will be able to petition for their content to be restored.
"I think in any kind of good-functioning democratic system, there needs to be a way to appeal," said the 33-year-old, positioning the social media network almost as its own state, although staff are not elected.
"I think we can build that internally as a first step.
"What I'd really like to get to is an independent appeal. So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second opinion.
"You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don't work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world."
His comments come after a major Facebook data breach was exposed, compromising users' private information and wiping tens of billions from the company's share price.
Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump's election campaign, allegedly tapped the Facebook profiles of millions of users and used the data to influence the outcome of the US presidential election in 2016.
Concerned politicians have called for Mr Zuckerberg to testify before Congress, which he agreed to do if required.
He was also criticised for failing to apologise in an initial statement on the shocking data breach, and gave a follow-up CNN interview in which he told the public: "This was a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened."
The Facebook CEO confessed he was certain that hackers were working on a "version two" of the alleged Russian meddling from 2016, and that the company needed to "get in front of" the new tactics.
Social media users are pushing a #DeleteFacebook movement, but many have found their lives are now simply too entwined with the platform to extricate themselves.
Mr Zuckerberg admitted today that as the digital world has grown to an unprecedented scale and level of influence, there were constant new challenges. He said he believed the problem was that Facebook had not been transparent enough about the issues it faces and how it is "driving those things down over time."
But interviewer Ezra Klein told him: "The problem wasn't the lack of transparency, it was how to know we could trust what was coming out."
Facebook now has roughly 14,000 people working on security and review, according to Mr Zuckerberg. "Helping people connect by itself isn't always positive," he added.
He said that in 2016, Facebook had taken down more than 30,000 fake accounts it believed were spreading misinformation and succeeded in having "much cleaner" elections in France and working with the German government to have an understanding of the issues.
He said the firm "felt a lot better about the result" of the special election in Alabama last year.
But his remarks seem eerie in light of the opaque functioning of Facebook's newsfeed, privacy functions and collection of personal data.