In the March 2020 edition of Wired Magazine is an article written by Steven Levy entitled Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks. Steven Levy has known Zuckerberg for many years so had a fair amount of access. These notebooks are where Zuckerberg plotted to rule the world and the notion of physical evidence like notebooks surely adds to the intrigue and mystique of one of the powerful players on the world stage.
Of all the internet billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg is perhaps the most controversial. Starting with your date of birth and your high school, Facebook’s creepy form of surveillance capitalism built the Facebook empire. The Facebook empire influences all things in our modern society – journalism, marketing, advertising, commerce, education, politics and personal lives to name the obvious. It is a platform build on modern humans’ natural addictive tendencies, narcissism and social insecurities and is nothing about the justice and equality that seemed possible in the early days of the internet. That people are so gullible to the deviousness of Facebook is surprising.
The secret sauce of Facebook is outlined below:
“Zuckerberg envisioned a three-tier hierarchy of what made stories compelling, imagining that people are driven chiefly by a blend of curiosity and narcissism. His top tier was “stories about you.” The second involved stories “centered around your social circle.” In the notebook, he provided examples of the kinds of things this might include: changes in your friends’ relationships, life events, “friendship trends (people moving in and out of social circles),” and “people you’ve forgotten about resurfacing.”
“The least important tier on the hierarchy was a category he called “stories about things you care about and other interesting things.” Those might include “events that might be interesting,” “external content,” “paid content,” and “bubbled up content.”
From Wired Magazines’ “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks”
This secret sauce reaffirms my disgust with Facebook and social media as a whole. Web 2.0 and Facebook in particular has perpetuated our present era of what I call the era of “Digital Narcissism.”
“He was an avid Latin student, developing a fanboy affinity for the emperor Augustus Caesar, an empathetic ruler who also had an unseemly lust for power and conquest.”
There is this tendency in the United States of adulation of the rich. The notion that Zuckerberg was an “avid Latin student” attempts to affirm a notion that Zuckerberg was some sort of child genius who studied the classics. Whenever I have heard Mark Zuckerberg speak in public he does not seem worldly, well educated or secure in the least. Memorizing a few Latin phrases when you were eighteen to help you conquer a video game does not a Latin scholar make. In reality, Zuckerberg was mostly writing php “for loops” and working on “membership data models. ” Latin scholar… yeah right.
Zuckerberg’s initial reaction to criticism was most often defensive. But when misinformation could not be denied and Congress came calling, he clicked back into apologize-and-move-on mode.
And then near the end of the article there is this completely strange and obtuse sentence that would make even George Orwell snicker. “When misinformation could not be denied” means when written in plain and clear English – “when the truth came out. “ Indeed, truth is in short supply and Facebook is in the business of often perpetuating lies.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks is an interesting and insightful piece but as with most articles in Wired, barely questions the digital powers that be and instead holds them up in reverence. Reverence is not journalism – it is cheer-leading. There is no mention of Facebook’s tax avoidance, the millions of accounts where passwords were in plain text and hacked, the perpetuation of false advertising and political smears and lies that are ubiquitous on the platform. A quote not mentioned that was literally Facebook’s mantra for years is “move fast and break things.” Now that Facebook has broken lots of things, why cheer on Goliath?