A manifesto published by Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week was met with heavy resistance from both the media and the tech industry. The latest critic of Zuckerberg's vision of the world is Jan Dawson, founder of technology research firm Jackdaw. In an essay published on Friday, Dawson reluctantly approved of Zuckerberg's willingness to admit that Facebook facilitated some major issues that are currently troubling the global community, but criticized his belief that the answer to everything bad Facebook ever caused is – Facebook.
Dawson noted how Facebook's consistent endeavors to only present people with content that they find pleasing and engaging, as well as opinions they agree with have consequently created millions of personalized media bubbles and online echo chambers, thus harming public discourse. A similar sentiment was recently even expressed by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel who tried to use it as a basis to pressure Facebook and Google into revealing their algorithms. Naturally, Merkel's attempt wasn't successful and the problem not only persists but is even amplified with time, Dawson claims, explaining how Facebook has immense power in shaping the media world that all consumers live in. The fact that Facebook users are rarely or never presented with views that don't reflect those of their own is troubling and results in societal polarization, the essay implies.
Dawson is extremely critical about Facebook's proposed solution to the issues outlined above as all of them are exclusively focused on Facebook. While he notes that Zuckerberg's attempt to keep people on Facebook is perfectly understandable, Dawson claims that everything he proposed will only worsen the situation and says that consumers should try to resist Facebook's growing power and not allow the omnipresent social network to have an even bigger role in their lives than it already does. Dawson's biggest example of Zuckerberg and Facebook's lack of self-awareness is the part of the manifesto that talks about the network turning into a tool that would allow communities to govern themselves, thus basically becoming an integral part of the democratic process. Ultimately, the author summarized his thoughts by saying the fact that Facebook finally acknowledged its power is a good thing, but everything it plans to do with it is the opposite.