Mark Zuckerberg currently wields singular power over a platform that could empower the growth of true democracy. Instead, he insists on endlessly sucking the dick of short-term profit.
America is an oligarchy organized by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy. Pancake Brain is a (free) newsletter dedicated to replacing the status quo with equitable public power. If you’re into that kind of thing, I hope you’ll subscribe and share. This project is based on my book, How to Start a Revolution: Young People and the Future of American Politics. I hope you’ll read (or listen to) it, if you haven’t yet.
Dearest Pancake Brains,
This week, a boycott of Facebook has grown to over 300 advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Best Buy, and Clorox, among other marketing giants, who are pressing the social network to moderate hate speech. To this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded with the moral equivalent of, “Lol, you can’t make me,” and we should all be furious.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg is in the process of suing Hawaiians for land that he believes should be part of yet another palatial property. Presumably, that battle only gained recent attention after a petition against Zuckerberg went viral, because it’s horrifically greedy and exactly what we’ve come to expect from our reigning overlords. Indeed, the man unilaterally responsible for a significant portion of global disinformation and hate speech is driven solely by his personal accumulation of wealth and power, and he’s not even pretending otherwise.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of wondering how much healthier democracy would be if Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t peaked in college. I’m a dreamer and an optimist, so I have often allowed myself to fantasize about the way Facebook might be operated under public ownership for the shared goal of global liberation. This could begin with civic participant portals organized by zip code. I know that sounds absurd. You’re probably thinking that I may as well tape a rainbow unicorn to my vision board. Except, the limitations that stand between us and the utopian Facebook are not quite that unrealistic.
We live in a society in which it is somehow acceptable for a petulant brat to run the world’s largest information network with a complete lack of accountability, and we are complicit in the sin of collective impotence that facilitates this moral atrocity. Every day that we fail to routinely exercise our freedom through civic actions such as boycotting, protesting, and voting, we bow to the dystopian now in which this twisted villainy is the standard.
It would appear that Zuckerberg thinks he can get away with anything, and the public has yet to prove him wrong.
Despite facilitating foreign interference in the U.S. election and wanton invasion of user privacy, Zuckerberg has not seen enough public backlash to threaten the ads business that accounts for 98 percent of its $70.7 billion annual revenue. The current ad boycott marks a seismic shift in cultural response, but apparently even that is not sufficient to inspire accountability. Small businesses account for 70% of Facebook’s ad revenue, and so Zuckerberg’s singular concern remains largely unchallenged.
During virtual meetings with the marketing giants, Zuckerberg refused to change his platform’s policy for hate speech with a warning: “Don’t boycott us unless you’re willing to boycott everyone.” With this, Zuckerberg gestures to the American oligarchy governed by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy, and declares, “If you don’t like it, then you should move.”
Truly, the most absurd aspect of Zuckerberg’s sociopathy is that we have come to understand it as the norm for business leaders. A cis white man operating purely out of greed is the motivational model that dictates many of the decisions that define American life. We must radically shift our behavior if we are to create a society that is truly operated by and for the people. Facebook would not exist without us, folks. Why shouldn’t the public own and shape the values of its own town square? Or, in more colloquial terms: Seriously, this dude does not need 10 different houses.
Currently, our voices are the statistical equivalent of an ant crawling on a broken megaphone. That’s especially true when the impact of our votes are weighed against the tyrannical amorality of Mark Zuckerberg pouting on a Zoom call. We have to resist the impotence that is accepting this bullshit as an inevitability. Global liberation will become a reality when the majority of the public develops a practice of freedom. First and foremost, that means routine habits of protesting and voting.
The change starts with you. If you’re pissed off, deactivate or delete Facebook, and tell your family and friends to do the same. Encourage the brands you consume to boycott Facebook until the platform makes serious policy changes. Use your time and money wherever possible to support ethically-manufactured products. Stop your dead-eyed scrolling through a platform run by a hate-speech-facilitating oligarch, and wake the fuck up. The future we deserve requires systems change, and we will get there by individually contributing to ongoing habits of freedom.
Zuckerberg currently wields singular power over a platform that could empower the growth of true democracy. Instead, he insists on endlessly sucking the dick of short-term profit, because supposedly that’s the way things are. It doesn’t need to be. In order to build equitable public power on a sustainable Earth, we’re going to need to continuously rethink the question of how we ought to live together, because, right now, the majority of the public are alienated subjects in a nation ruled by boy kings, and I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for the boycott.
With earnest irreverence,