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2018-11-16

Dara, Jane, and Matt analyze the social network that America loves to hate and can't escape. References and further reading: New York Times exposé on Facebook’s reaction to Russian interference on their site Michelle Goldberg tells Democrats to leave Facebook in a Times opinion piece An article from the New York Times on advertisers’ reactions to the Facebook report An interview with Sheryl Sandberg from CBS News Ask Weeds Anything is back! Sarah Kliff, Dara Lind, and Matt Yglesias will answer your questions about politics and policy on an upcoming episode of The Weeds. Got a question? Ask away in our Facebook group or send along to weeds@vox.com. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Yeah. This is Marquez Brownie Acre and Cuba HD, and this is Andrew Manga Nellie. We will introduce you to our podcast way, form the new sedition to the Vocs media podcast network, so I've spent over ten years, reviewing tech products and consumer electronics for millions of people. On the incubation to channel and now on. The way forward ass Andrew and I use that experience to dig even deeper into latest tech for smartphones too. I max to electric cars. So if you're gadget lover or attack head or if you just want to figure out whether the latest gadget is worth your harder in cash, give us a lesson say can find way: form the empty beefy podcast on your favorite Pakistan, every Friday see over there
I quit the facebook when it was how riddle me. I could the Facebook, when it was college, only I've. I've got its self and its low. Welcome to another episode of the weeds on the box media outcasts, network Matthew places he would directly and Emma Jane Coastal, and we want to talk today about Facebook, a company that is frequently in the news has gotten more in the news. Lately, there is a big near times expose ay, I guess the companies, real reaction to russian hacking and interference and other
or more to the vandals over the summer, its reaction to the increased public scrutiny. That comes oh, yes, I was like the most striking revelation and the article is at one point: they work with Republican Party, operative TIM Miller to orchestrate smear campaign that their critics are being found by George, Sir US, which is now like an unfamiliar political tactic in the known universe. But for a company that has often tried to sort of paint, a more liberal image is striking kudos to the five authors of the New York Times, article four, knowing to juxtaposed these two things in the same paragraph that while Facebook was reaching out to this up a research firm and to talk about be sore, links of its critics. It was simultaneously reaching out to
You know allies and civil rights groups to paint criticism of the company as anti semitic gas, which is its an interesting way to diversify your portfolio of attacks, but it Real Hudspeth ICE edge. It's that, yes, it is a lot of Ceylon level hotspot, but it's also just incredibly illustrative, and I think that this is why you know this Article has creative seized the imagination of so many of us, not just because Facebook is an incredibly important company, but because it is an incredibly import company that has shown no sign of realizing just how influential it has been in shaping than national political disk. Yours and using its power to kind of put forward the idea the your critics are illegitimate, because their funded by George Soros while there is trying to struggle with phenomena on which their platform is being.
To put forward all of these anti semitic. George Soros conspiracies. It's a Very good illustration of how these obviously do understand the power that these kind of you know spirits, seas and muddying the waters have and failed just in the moral responsibility that comes with and getting to that point among the claims that was in the New York Times. Peace is that Facebook basically tried to downplay the significance of any russian activity taking place on Facebook prior to the twenty six election and one of those instances is that sheriff Sandberg, who is the chief operating officer of Facebook and perhaps best known as the author of lean and about which I have many
anyway, basic of it, she attempted to reign, and then security Chief Alex stay most and a white paper that was released based on his internal investigation, didn't include the word Russia and they just basement kept downplaying russian involvement with kind of interfere. Via Facebook and there's a there's a new terms. Up at today, I think it's out Michel Goldberg, who wrote about how Facebook may in some way be responsible for the election of dollars, from which I think is a little overstating list, and I think that we can have this conversation just by talking about Facebook itself and not getting involved rehashing how the twenty six teen election happened, because you know, I think it has more to do with Wisconsin in Michigan. You know no Aki, but I think that talk about facebook- and I think we were talking about this a little bit before the show that lie. But it's been interesting to see a company that started out as Tsar Facebook and was basically a me
by which Harvard students could hang out with an attempt to copulate, with other, Harvard students attempt to turn into this overarching entity. That could be everything to everyone and Sandberg shouldn't interviews, CBS News last night, and she basically and I've heard this from Zuckerberg- also uses excuse if you're going to have a platform that bill of people use you're, going to see all the ugliness and all the beauty. I think we were not focused enough erratic some of the bad things that can happen on Facebook, but it is interesting to see- and we ve seen this with Google and other companies that come in with this very utopian vision that Facebook, member, you know when they stopped to requiring a college email, every one could be on it and has been just have billions of people on it and it was going to be ill you're new source of how out, everything remember they started doing adds earlier this year. That was basically like your things went wrong. This is still where you can find out that you friends got engaged and you can see people coming together
all these wonderful things can happen, and but they still don't get that inherently. That leads to more problems. Why so Here's. What I think is interesting about this times to me. I think Facebook has often been discussed in these kind of terms of they don't get this. They don't understand this or understand whatever to me what is revealed in this article, and I like it because it confirms my purse ours is that they understand this all much better than people give them credit for that really understand what's going on and they don't care that. They were literally handed by their chief security officer, a memo about what went on. They read the memo. They understood the memos contents and then they decided they did not want the public to know. The contents of the oh right that, like I remember we mark Zuckerberg, was in trouble for hacking into
Dorm Room computer servers to get peoples, I deckard photos to make face, smash right and he was caught and he got in trouble and apologize, and it was this kind of thing where was like? Ok, like he was a smart guy with his computer, idea, and he was impatient and he's really think about how we gonna make people feel does see from his point of view, is like it. So like your idea, photos were like www private. Can I literally printed out demonstrated the client a book called the Facebook people felt invader. You. Could see it that way? This was. It was
kind of a misunderstanding can only mean, but like there was this queasy story when Brick Havanas confirmation hearings were happening and like Facebook decided at some point that they wanted to hire a high powered republican Party operative to be their top lobbyist. So they hired a high powered republican Party operative to be their top lobby. As then, when Brett Cavanaugh, a former high powered Republican Party operative, was in a bit of controversy, facebooks top lobby. I went to the Congress to support his friend and political ally, but Cavenaugh, and then there was this weird Michigan where they were like, oh he's doing that in his personal capacity, because there, Sir I guess it's like mostly democrats right and they were mad, and so they were like. Oh yeah- jordan- really mean that and then he hosted Brett Cavanaugh as official victory party.
And you can do is literally nothing wrong with an evil company run by evil billionaires, hiring republican party lobbyists to help push and evil billionaire agenda, happens all the time. There is nothing more banal and corporate Amerika than evil companies are run by evil billionaires, trying to help get billionaire friendly judges on the bench like. The- U S chamber, of commerce enthusiastically, backed by Cavanaugh so like why shouldn't facebook Craig. But Just to say, like it's not a little kid right away and was dorm room generally mean like they did not eighty it's there, actually super smart, like Mark Zuckerberg, Sheriffs, Hamburg, smarter than me this smarter than you who's out here listening, they know what to do. Am I to do what they are doing is getting fuckin rich. What is going on here? I think that that's an amazing boy- and I totally agree with you and I backtrack on my prior point, because I'm allowed to be wrong in public
and so it was interesting. There is a follow up article in their attempts to take her in no morals. Advertisers reacts to Facebook report and one of the quotes is from the chief growth officer. Further publicist croup one of the world's biggest add companies at its is now we know Facebook will do whatever it takes to make money, they have absolute we'd know: morals, the witches polarity honey from the ad group, a very specific way. It's over will stand up for the incompetence over malice side here Not, and I know I don't know that I actually disagree all that strongly with anything specific the youth said man. I just think that Facebook has continued to be in the position of moving fast in breaking things and not realising what it's broken until afterwards. At a certain point you do have a, an intellectual responsibility to understand. Okay, we ve been a company for fifteen years or so in a we ve been a me.
Your internet platform, for at least a decade. At a certain point. Maybe we should have a kind of step back and thought. How can we figure? what's going to happen before it actually happens like cars, the table, and this comes up where we talk about Facebook on here by everybody in this room, has very person professional experience with Facebook over the last couple of years, saying it was going to do a thing and then not understanding the consequences of it and then changing it. As far as the placement of news stories in its newspeak out rhythm is concerned, like that's, been a that we, as a media company, have had to deal with the resolutions of, as has the entire media industry. So it's not exactly like you know. We are purely dispassionate. Here I, but at the same time, it means that we understand very well that when Facebook says going to do something and puts up this, you know high
language about how it's going to keep the world informed and then doesn't think through the consequences of that and ends up backtrack That is a thing that hurts real people. Maybe somebody should have thought it. I just want to say that it's not as if I make this point about Donald Trump, sometimes because, like he gets compared to a toddler awhile and like I'm, the parent of a toddler, unlike the thing about toddlers, is their genuine out of control worries Donald Trump. Some time this will like go dark on twitter for a period of data is right, like he often acts out of control right, but like toddlers cannot do that, they don't hold it together for a week because they really thought about. It is really important to do like they just fly off the handle everything and by the same token I mean I remember when Zuckerberg was on our colleague as your clients podcast, and that was part of like a big mark Zuckerberg.
Pr push around one of these other controversies. We it's like Facebook is incapable of doing careful, advance planning around things and they sometimes do it right. So the fact that they dont do it is not the sign of inherently. All save beast, you don't mean it is a choice to be very careful about Mark Zuckerberg, public image ray in which, like Mark Zuckerberg, never just says to people when people like Bob are fake news in ever just says to you like fuck, you, I'm gettin money, you don't even, and I sympathise with them to some extent. Rikers is like, if you came to the ceo of you, know, People who make my beloved sour patch kids- and you were like all this candy like this- I'm really healthy for people like your contributing to a lot of public health problems and Bob Bob Bob, oh by the way,
be like no actually like candy we're working hard on it all the time I our candy, we're gonna fortified with broccoli, like I don't know what they would say. In fact, we invented sour fetch kids so that kids could get used to the taste of fruit and associated? I lay not just say that there is no bullshit in the candy industry, but like too, stand. It's like the expectation is look. We make this stuff people like to eat it so, like buzz off right people like Facebook, early great and Facebook makes a lot of money clearly and that's how Facebook like said, but they insists on creating this very high minded public image and I think You talk about why that is later, but why they are so much more invested in a perception of high mindedness than than most big companies are, and what you seeing here is that, like they don't
deserve that right. That like when there are big problems that involve Facebook but are not necessarily a big problem for Facebook. They just don't really care now, just curious. Why is that? Why are they so invested in a highly narrative? I think that the issue is fundamentally that these technology companies are in a kind of a war for talent, right and people with the kind of skills at Facebook me it's, but not just Facebook, but also Google, also Amazon, also apple, but also a million start. Ups are in very high demand and, of course you can pay the money and they they do get paid well, and you can treat them nicely with snacks in the cafeteria. I think that in the end they do get treated well, but you want people at your company who feel an intrinsic motorway.
You do you don't want to just over bed right like we're. Gonna give you two million dollars and you're gonna come in and be certainly you wants enthused. S right, and so they want people to believe that their companies mission, valuable and you see this from lots and lots of different silken bag company is- and I think it just objective. Lee is less true of Facebook than of some of their competitors. Slit leg, to me, like that's their essential problem that, like the irregular, issues with Google. I think there are some practical questions about how you to work spot but, like I said, anybody can deny that, like Google, web search is a very useful thing that has made lots of people's lives better. Like all the time, million ways and its ITALY's. What time the Superbowl is, it tells you everything you know. Dream is like. If you want to know something you can google ad and like it's a miraculous
Where is like? It is true that I rely on Facebook to remind me when my ants birthday is. But it is not true that before Facebook people did not have that information, so something I want to get into, because I was thinking actually about your sour patch kids example, because if you're gonna get if you're a typical company you and let's they met in which we operate in a world in which you were went out and you purchase sour patch kids. You essentially gave the creators of sour patch kids money and they gave you sour patch kids, and so they would call the transaction very successfully. You got what you wanted and they got what they want, but with Facebook I River, watch except they recently there take about a girl, well, Facebook, it's free and am I know its not because technically you who are you what their selling just last year? made roughly forty billion dollars, and basically, what that is. Is you are the product they sell you to aggregate,
says who they will follow you around for the rest of your life on every single platform that you use as its Facebook owns Instagram, for example, which they will eventually destroy, but so far not yet you are the product you didn't give Facebook ten dollars and they did not give you photographs of that dude. You went to high school with sweating. You paid nothing but advertise yours are getting paid off of you, so I think that the high mindedness is really, I think, an attempt to assuage the idea that your basically giving of yourself was for no apparent reason. You know they really want you to think of this as a resource. They want you to think of this as a means to you. You can remember. Things learn about things, but you could have done that in a way that maybe you could have actually paid money for and then had like a private transaction with some of the same rules of other private transact,
and if you give your money to sour patch kids in general, south hedge kids, we want then save you, sour patch kid purchasing data. And sell it to the people who make hot tamales or make it eggs, and so it's a very different customer relationship and its one that I think it has to be cut. Spin, the high minded. Listen, this all we're all here together, even allow Facebook is helping to foment agenda, side of the road Inga, unlike their been all these other instances around the world in which Facebook has been responsible for awful things happening. Because of this really because it is not a one to one consumer relationship. You are the consumed. You are not the consumer I was so hoping to previously do the extra six inches here in point out explicitly that we are this. Our hatched kids are yet internet. Yes, that yeah, I mean, I think, that's
right. But I also think that the high- I didn't narrative that Facebook is giving to the product like the narrative, They were fixing it add some earlier this year is a little bit different from what they're telling would be. Regulators and and their labour force about what their mission is like it's The theory inconsistent, but in of putting out add saying: no, really, we were founded to connect people, their pudding. Add saying your user experience on this platform is better than you think it s like. Please remember. All of the good times you have had on Facebook in Irish remember that for several years of Facebook as a kind of major public platform when they had a lot of basic user interface overhauls and all Those followed the pattern that you know we're all very use you on the internet at this point of late
will complain. They don't like the new format. They want Facebook to go by to the away was Facebook won't do it and then everybody Nero just kind of gets over themselves Matt. Absolutely has better like Facebook, early adopter credit than I do so I won't get into the details of lake when you used to be able to use it at the wall. But that's not the backlash that they right now. The backlash they have right now is people realising innate slower but ultimately worse way than people realize the twitter is not a good experience he realising like. Actually it is not pleasant to spend a lot of time on Facebook. It is not pleasant to like get involved in these flame as with you're friends uncle the whether or not it's fair to call a tweet from a reporter Miss stated the number of protesters outside the rally fake news or not like it is
it's not what people logged on four and that is the serious long term danger for re spoken. That's what the real disasters scenario for them. Is it's not that regulators step in and say you should stop fomenting genocide? It's that people realise that this isn't funny anymore. Why? We, we desperately needs it to take a break, because I think that some new ones to this. If you like, basically anyone listening to this right now, I'm willing to bet that you are you're dealing with stress. Maybe there's it of it like an overwhelming amount, or maybe it's more like a low but steady drumbeat background stress, remember how you are experiencing stress. It's likely fucking Moods, your energy in so many other areas of your life, you feel like stress, is starting to take over straining relationships and shorten your temper. It's probably tend to unload and better health. Is perfect for that better help is customized online therapy that offers videophone and even live chat sessions. With your
you don't see anyone on camera, if you don't want you it's much more affordable than in person therapy in stark communicating with the affair personnel. Forty hours, a mud, distress using its unbiased feedback. You be pretty surprise when you can gain for it see if it's for you, the weeds, sponsored by better help and listeners get ten percent off the first month, better help dot com such weeds, that's, B, e, T, T, R, HD, L, a p d come slash weeds. This episode is brought to you by fender. Foot, ball is back and the best bet you can make is downloading the fan dual sports book up. It doesn't matter. If new to gambling or an old pro fan dual has something for everyone and as an official, sports betting partner of the NFL, you know your bats are safe. There's also never been a better time to use. Fan do because, right now you'll get up to one thousand dollars back. If your first bet doesn't, when you can even too
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teachers. They can actually test people's compliance with these orders, and they showed that if you make people limit their sulphur media use to no more than thirty minutes a day. Two things happen: One is that these say they would really like to use it more, right like they say that they would pay money to get out of this constraint, but also their self reported levels of well being increase and their self reported levels of depression decline. Right, and I think this is something like. I really think the people who work in this industry need to think hard to themselves and need to like honestly like stop going to these internal town halls and these these things for employees to send and like really were flecked unwell
the war business that they are in is here right, because it's like, I enjoy the occasional outing to a casino to gamble. Right, like I think fine, but I would never never ever suggests that a person with like actual options and their life go work as an architect helping design, casinos, because the way you make money there is not by Matt every few years having a world that is fine in LAS Vegas for two days, it's by trapping compulsive gambler straight and like this is what these studies of Facebook are showing. Where did its addiction type behaviour right there
people enjoy doing it more you're. In the moment, you want to keep scrolling. You want to comment. You wanna, like you, want to click the legs Papa, but when people look back- and they say, ok, was this a good use of my time or would I be happier and life if I exercised a little more slept, a little more read books a little more and Facebook, the little less you're, better off facebooking less, and I just don't see any way out of that by unanimous give you are working on the company like eats into world to the model there that it is going to try to get you to say. You're gonna check it quickly during a little bit of downtime, but then keep you engaged and everything else that that happens, like is bad, rightly give us a downside of a little screw up at work. There's a genocide in Myanmar, like you, have a real problem,
Like you know, I've always struck by mines, Eichelberger saying he lost sleep over that cause. I'd like how much sleep. I guess it's really bad, but then there is also the question of what like what is the the business that you're doing. You know like an airplane crash at a cemetery, seven max every cell in and people died and that's a horrible tragedy. But if you work at Boeing and you're like we make airplanes for living like the bad thing, is it's an answer? Planes the good thing is that, like people travel the world, and so if you work on making the planes better like they will crash less, which is good but also you'll, make more money right, like it's very incentive. Compatible and I just think Facebook isn't like a world in which people spend tons and tons and tons and tons of time on Facebook is just not good. Even if all these other problems were saw, it's interesting, I figure casino reference is actually really good because it might have films is.
Film casino, for which share in stone was robbed of an Oscar, goes into the idea of how you keep people in Russia, of a little bit about things like, for instance, if you're a whale like a high level gambler and you win one day, they will literally everything they can to keep you from leaving velvet comp everything for you or send you do a show and disappear go if you just stay like two more night will do all of these nice things and you eventually will lose money, and I think of that with things like, if you do not go on Facebook photo, while you get an email, that's like hey. It's been happening on Facebook, while you haven't been over here and just the notion, I recently massage therapists and endangers derelict see that your thumb is like trapped in scroll.
Any handling Wentworth. I've got twitter thumb, but just the addictive nature of the fact that you could squirrel through Facebook for ever and any similar with Twitter it similar with Instagram, but just how these entities have been created to have this addictive this going off. Also your reference of Boeing's. You know if planes work people get to travel if Facebook works. What do you get continuing to take this casino reference, because I think it's instructive. The weird thing about going to a casino is going through a casino before you're of legal age to gamble like I went to Vegas with my family for a couple of days when I was seventeen and it's not just that, you can't do anything. It's that big has the entire architecture of the place is designed to push people to gamble people who are not of legal age, to gamble cat step off the path. Basically, like you can't say,
in the middle of the lobby, without a casino employ you going. I'm sorry you can't be here because impossible not to come face to face with the thing you're not legally allowed to do. That is an awkward experience, but it something that casinos have taken very seriously because there is a law that is in place. They restrict this behaviour because it is addictive and destructive that you know makes it impossible for teenagers to spend all of their time infectious gambling the way their parents life savings, the weird hyper fee of employee choice here that we talking about the world in which you know it is on fees, looking employees to figure out if they want to be using their labor to help their company do. This is a function of employee, These are the ones who have a meaningful check on the company right now, gradually its Weird, you know postal. Were union knew highly. Killed. Employees are the only ones who have a lever of power here, because we know
from this time? Story that in our attempts at government oversight, first, I need violate chuck humours, whose daughter works at Facebook is its theirs a lot of belief that, because people are employed by these companies that any other external check on them is bad because it's going to hurt the people who get the companies. So the people who work in the companies are the only ones were in a position that I also think, like I believe, and in the world of government regulation and in life and ambition but that they also do think. I mean it's utopian to think that the government is ever going to put rules in place that make every company be good, all the time. It is actually necessary that people, both in their capacities executives and in their capacity as skilled workers, exercise some kind of moral judgment, and I mean I think, if you look at the chance
forget it should have a lot of money goes into the right. I mean they're not kidding around its, not dislike pennies. At a mark. Zuckerberg pockets is pretty good ideas. You know like its pre thoughtful stuff that smart Priscilla Mark Zuckerberg, smart people. They got smart people working for them, I think they want to make the world a better place at a minimum. I think they want people to think of them. Ass people who are making the world a better place, and that's all gray but like you, have to take place stability. For that, in the main thing that you do right, I mean no matter what they do with that charity.
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg impacts. The world is by founding an operating facebook and like to be honest, like are they operating Facebook in a way? That is a broad benefits to society and like they're? Not- and you know if you are number two number three number four down to like just some guy who works on user interface design like I want condemn you, if you're, you know stealing bread to save you starving family, but I feel it give you get hired a facebook higher someplace else is a pretty Rule of thumb, unlike you know, she's gotta, think about like, but you want to do with your life right I mean there is. Is this really famous- and it is always strikes me story about the early days of apple when they were trying to recruit and executive from Pepsi to come over and be like adults, supervision at again, technology, company and Steve Jobs says
to the Pepsi guy. Like do you want to change the world or do you want to sell people sugary water for the rest of your life right, and I think that kind of pitches compelling to people and the question is in a more technologically adept world like? Is it Facebook, just at best, the selling of sugary water to people when they are like bigger, bigger things you could do out there, so something I want to get into one is the government angle because I think the government we do you talk about policy, summer vacation, and so I am looking at this CBS News interview. Between CBS this morning, co host nor O Donnell talking Cheryl Sandberg, one part, is O Donnell asks. I dont have to remind you about when you hired this firm and twenty eleven to get misleading a negative stories about Google into mainstream media outlets and apologize when you're caught. Did you learn anything from that episode and sombre responsible? We, I think we should.
Learn to be more careful and does not notably stated they did, learn that. But one of the other questions is a group of senators. Thursday asked the Justice Department to expand their ongoing investigations into Facebook to include claims that the company retaliate against critics we cooperate and under investigation. When Sandberg says I mean I don't know what that investigation is, but we cooperate fully and any investigation by the government from any government we have had many. We will always come up, it will always cooperate fully, and I think that that gets something now if we remain The summer mark Zuckerberg sat before a Senate panel and it did not go particularly well, but it didn't really go well for the senators, not so much from our Zuckerberg, because I think that the issue here is your when Mark Zuckerberg or Cheryl Sandberg or any of the curve tech people appear before summit there not appearing before the people who know the most about what it is that they do so. You had TED crews railing on about diamond and silk, and I believe you have.
Like one mention of the row, hang like real problems here. A real conversation about leg, how the inner workings of this business operates and YO the use of your private. The violations and issues like that, because the senators are reflecting what they have been told about these particular businesses and what people apparently told TED Crews is that we are really worried that Facebook with me into these two Ladys, whose videos we watched sometimes, and so, if Facebook we're facing down a panel of like a bunch of people and their late twenties, who are extremely adept at Facebook. Having been on it, you know I'm thirty, one and Facebook launched when I was in high school, and I remember, Getting my college email me like can now get on Facebook, and if it was that it was a great time tat, we were all very young but They were not talking to an audience of people who understand Facebook,
and, moreover, have a better concepts of facebooks purpose yo. They were talking to people who knew that this was a problem, but didn't think it was a problem for them wore a problem that they needed to get involved in, and so I think that the idea of what with the government do as like we're we're not talking about like a government that understands Facebook or two You got a government that understands that some people have a problem with it. I mean, I think you know some of us are what was happening. There, though, is that there's been this big campaign of conservative rough working with regard to these organizations, right, which is only just be blunt about this- You can be quite him called fair to conservative media sites. Or you can be committed to accuracy, and there was a hard choice, unanimous that you have to make.
Like the line between fake news and Fox NEWS, is incredibly unlike what republican Party senators want with there This is a new environment that is full of love. You know like that, that's what Fox does that's, what Sinclair does that's what they do and that's tough. It's a tough situation for anybody, but, like every editor of every newspaper in America, of every broadcasts, news channel deals with skin enemy, like you can make a good faith effort to report news, and if you do that, you will take shit constantly from the Republican party rattling. Would We'll trump says he's against current got fake news. He means Lester holds nightly new, show and NBC. He does not mean like Macedonia and teenagers. Creating fix for and somewhat Facebook wants is for republican Party politicians to like them right and debts,
Mine is an objective, but what that means as a media channel republican Party politicians. Well like you not if some of your content is bullshit propaganda, but if, All of it right, like their ideal, is Fox news. Unlike again that is fine right, but that you have again. I beg you if you work at Facebook right like if Mark Zuckerberg does not tell you, I am going to make a hard choice that I don't care. How much I get yelled out by concern for politicians but again keeping in mind that drew top lobbyists at your comp? is a republican Party operative fright like look at Fox NEWS and internalizing your bones. This is what your top lobbyist wants your company to look like. Look at your most brainwashed great uncle like that's what they want to do
and, like you can do that if we want like, if you want to say, like Fox NEWS and its couple hundred thousand people, we need an audience of billions to be. Propaganda is like that, then, by all means, like collaborate with this energy, but like there is nobody who is making a good faith effort to inform their audience, who is not getting yelled out by ten groups like there's no way around that like all of conservative media's total carbon sink. This is the problem with this, though, is getting back to the user experience thing like if I'm Facebook, I'm looking at what happened to the NFL and going this thing. A lot of people enjoy sobs actual numbers of them can be turned off by polish. In saying right. This thing is on the wrong side in the culture works, so I think that it's not just A consideration of you know the getting concerned.
Politicians mad at them. It's a consideration of ease Facebook at risk of losing sixty five year old, plus white people, because sort of politicians decide to get super invested in me, I hardly knew should even invited me they ve thrown in with the Republicans, and the question is this: like both decent people starts shown a centre prize fighting. That's interesting, though, is I think that that an official example is a good one, but not for maybe the way you might think, because the trick that the Anna fell recognised over the last say six months is that if you just keep on going and dont really change anything eventually, people will come forget why they were mad at you. It turns out that people who were mad at the interface, maybe weren't mad at the unofficial, because of how they handled civil disobedience, but also because often in the Anna fell last year, was at lake record loaves and thanks to the Oj Patrick Mahomet score to back the Kansas City Chiefs and teams like that offences now off. That
and everybody scores all the time and it turns out. Ratings have been right back up to numbers that they haven't reached since, like twenty thirteen, twenty forty, so Roger Adele, who has managed to be both like incredibly hated while heading the NFL and doing a very good job of making millions and millions of millions of dollars is basically like. It turns out that Few are in the midst of a crisis. The best thing to do is just did not really change any and just keep doing whatever it is you're doing, and I think with Facebook. I think that they might also look at the NFL and think, People are mad at us right now. We should just not really change anything and occasionally pay lip service to how maybe we'd made some mistakes, and we may have to go before the Senate a couple of times and will just keep saying things about. We made mistakes, but we're gonna make it right and then change absolutely nothing that everyone will forget about. It said our second break return. People often ask me of prosecuting the mob is like the movies. Well,
there is violence he cracks disguised over their head and pop. Just like a melancholy. There are heads, so wasn't just permission to take em apple permission to take out his own Natalie. But after taking down over one hundred mobsters, I can tell you this the The thing is much more interesting: barely holding former mob prosecutor and host of the new podcast up against a mom up against the mob, the bail on the world's most secretive criminal organization, La Cosa Nostra we'll talk to profit, Peters, former mobsters, an undercover agents and Ike Hollywood. All these stories are true: new episodes dry every Wednesday starting September, eighth, listen and follow up,
Hence the Bob on Apple Podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. The cat is had cast from New York magazine, but it's much more than that. Its thirty minutes a week where we really wrestle with ourselves we're talking societal expectations, race, sex, career ambitions and our bodies. I just spend our time on Instagram looking at health at any size nutritionist, talks and unified I've, I'm a factor on the internet. They just come to me baby, the algorithm we're here, Conversations you'd only have with your most trusted friend, so Gabby. What were the most painful memories
I'm just Nike AIR, listened a cat and spot if I apple or your favorite pipe cast up. So what should be done? Who has constructive ideas? I mean, I think, that it might be helpful to just lower the bar for what you know. A good government bonds to stuff. With look like you know, I dont require regulation. I dont even require smarter questions. Getting asked Senate hearings. I would be entirely okay with a world in which was not assume by default, that what is good for major tech companies is good for America and good for the world drain, like the other kind of big time, companies story- that's been a news. This week has been the Amazon, officially choosing the meat. My Euro area DC, met Euro area as like the two couldn't winners of its h, Q to competition, and
in the aftermath of that discoveries of just what was I missed by the New York Metro area and the DE seem at Euro area or in the second case, the state of Virginia and other cities were trying to promise. It offers incentives to get Amazon to move there and a lot of it. Real bad folks, like these are ostensibly progressive city and state governments in a lot of cases been over backwards to in the case of New York, Enow, scrap and affordable housing projects and allow every Zanu instead build on that land. In the case of the state of Virginia like putting, the contract that any for your request, the process of getting Amazon to come to Virginia they'll. Give Amazon, essentially prior restraint on they'll, give them a heads up to this coming, there's a lot It could be said about the you know: it
general effort to use tax incentives in for the purpose of economic development, but even above and beyond that, the various things- and there is a delightfully ludicrous article from Buzzfeed hang down what it was known of the proposals from cities that didn't when and everything from Land TAT trying to offer an extra are on its sub trains that was just for Amazon too. Colombia is proud to have less murders the love, as promised, to create a task force to look into its current growth, unacceptable murder rate, which says so much about who it is the dead to determine when a murder rate is unacceptable as it the people being murdered or the communities where those murders are happening. No, it's the company, then might Have employees move to I'm gonna guess of the city where murders are happening that much, but where it
look bad to have a city with a higher murder rate, fear just so many kind of goody back, being promised that strike me as only making sense, if youve, assumed that literally anything that is good for Amazon is good for you? city as well, and maybe we just step back from that assumption. Is that whether he's of Amazon or Facebook or of the other kind of major tech companies that have gearing he'd that America is kind of the centre of twenty percent, economic activity. In this regard, we might be able to have a slightly saner conversation about trade offs rather than just assuming that there literally is no trade off. That could possibly be too great great. I think it's actually kind of similar similar. If you follow anything about the Olympics, there have been a number of cities that have just been like edge,
literally not worth it, it will cost of billions of dollars to do, and yet there is still no allay campaign regarding the LOS Angeles Olympics, and I think that the Olympic now is kind of where I think that there is a chance like Amazon companies like that might be within the next I'd say like five to ten years, there have been a bunch of pieces written recently from people in Seattle who are like it really isn't like it's not worth it. Whatever your attempting to do and offering you want, maybe you should fix your crime rate before anyone shows up for just the reasons of that's. What's the job of the government is to do, but I think that this idea that you, as you said that, like anything, that's good for Amazon is good for your city or anything that brings attention to your city is inherently good. I think that that's something that we need to shift away from, and I think that it's interesting to see how this goes against party cuz. I think a lot of conservatives were kind of dunking on, like oh, you know,
What city is that all the hate, capitalism or offering all this stuff to all these companies? And I make you mean, like Fox COM, that we remember that in Wisconsin, Scott Walker was basically willingness hand over the state of Wisconsin to this company. That was, I will give you that jobs in that turns out. That's not what happened at all, but a yo. This goes a cross party. This idea that there is like this benevolent, Willie Walker, S, company that will come and save you from something, and I think it's interesting how it's it's tat, in this way of like our creating this optimal business, environment of cities have Cannabich business districts, and this idea that like if we just give these companies these things, though, do these things that will be good for us eventual and we think we need to start backing. Away from that as quickly as we can have it. I'm a little thing, though, is suddenly sage. You too, I mean what strikes me is the jump from.
Building, an environment, that's good for business, to building an environment that is good for a very specific incumbent. Business right, like the idea of economic activity. Being good, like broadly, is supposed to be that you know that The market will result in the rise of companies that are well did to dinner to giving customers what they want. Companies can scale easily and you can start a business, and you know that building an environment for business brought Lee means building an environment where any given business can thrive and instead of creating like good soil and sign and water, so that any plant that is hardly enough contained of thrive. There were turning massive in big companies in these hothouse flowers and saying ok, we're going to give you exactly very specific conditions that you say you need, as if you couldn't five in any conditions. Less there not orchids there,
actually orchids treating them like all the other guy. I want to go back to two facebook and the question of a regulation you know, there's a lot of sort of buyers in me, Sir Anti Trust space around big technology companies, I don't think that's actually super applicable to what Facebook is is doing, but I'm attracted to an idea that I dont see discussed a lot in the policy space but which is just maybe there should be a tax on social network user base swayed and it could be a progressive tax where, like your first, ten million users are free, two hundred million users, you gotta, pay fifty cents, and then you know then two hundred million. It's like Reeboks or whenever it is just something that would moderately discourage growth of these kinds of company
and the very most successful ones like Facebook, monetize is at a high rate, and so it would still be big, but it would have a huge guenaud tax bill which, like is but then also the more general customer they might actually not one You know I mean so that people who were like not that enthusiastic about Facebook award not high level facebook users who really liked about what people who are getting the email is leading lady. We buried that much sense to try that hard to recruit them, and then you would have a pool of people who were not on Facebook and who could be the audience for other things right and just create, moreover, of an ecosystem, because I think a lot of the dysfunctionality, a facebook as media enterprise stems from the ambition to be the literally universal right that they can all this. Serious about fake news fright, but like the basic
the issue is that they could hire. People too like make there not be fake news on Facebook, and it would not be that channel Jane. But like every time I say this, I say it's easy. They be like you know, stand, how how hard this is as like a computer science problem but like keeping the bathrooms at the Facebook Office Clean, is like an unsolvable computer science problem, so they hire fucking Janitor Skinner, like you, can get people. Call to be like no that's wrong. Take the article down the problem. Is some people wouldn't like it right like no matter what choice you made, you can hire the people I approve up, or you can have the Google TED Cruz the whenever you do somebody Borg and be like the sacks, but like that's fine like that's how business works you know like when Starbucks is formulating its coffee, they have to decide what the coffee is going to tastes like and they try their best to make coffee that a lot of people were alike, but some people don't like it right and like there's, also PETE's coffee.
Like there's lots of independent coffee shops and, like that's just life man, and if you try to insist that, like no, we need like this one stop shop, that like everybody is gonna, buy our shoes like it doesnt work great, but the economics of network effect. Let them have that aspiration and you could, I think, do something but taxation to just like basically may mean that aspiration to universalism impossible, and I think that might that might help us all out. Doesn't that ink? the filter bubble problem, though, if you are going to unravel a great pointing to a world where there is a conservative equivalent to Facebook vit aware not Facebook is the concern, and I think I mean
in the history of alternative institutions getting built over lake, especially on the internet over the last twenty years. I think it's much more likely that conservatives will say we need a conservative, it alternative to vast, but you should go to the site instead, like doesn't that just result in the further kind of Gatt vacation of things where there are spaces where there are absolutely no truth, checks being made were conspiracy, theories can flourish where hate speech can flourish and lake. I am not sure that that results in a healthier environment, public. Only. I really do want to push back on this, though, because I Kevin ruses daily tweets, showing what's the top performing content on Facebook and political spheres, It's always nationalist I've been should be ourselves like Facebook is the conservative face. I probably not, I'm not disagreeing with that characterisation. I just think that a world in which there is a tax on social networks IRA and therefore there is a discouragement of growth like you- are
more likely to see conservative Titian, saying everybody I'm getting off. Facebooking going there, he asked look. I really that might affect the conservative movement in America is horrible, repulse, am, I gave the form institutions, they won't be off like that's that's just like you and me like. I don't I don't think we should stop that. You know I mean like as as much as I may dislike. You know Fox news like it's fine. The great thing about Fox NEWS is that most people don't watch it. What the funny That's interesting and watch. Is that all the time, though- and this is how we have this entire life she's, not like my favorite south? So what are the very things, though, is that something I've noticed among conservatives, and I think that there has been an argument among and within the conservatives moving about. This is like ok go. We need to Lake break up Facebook
we need to do something about this, and then you see you, don't you brought up gab, but one of my favorite things is. The gap is frequently on twitter and frequently starting fights on twitter, because even gap knows that twitter is a far better product that gap, because gab does not work. It is full of trash, and I think that that's one of those moments which hilariously the market does work. Because when these entities have attempted to start you, there is a call for like ok, we need our own search engine yo, because Google is mean, and so people attempted to start and it doesnt work at no one likes it had. No. What use is it at its interesting to see that, like the reason why your hearing from conservatives were very concerned about Facebook and Twitter is that they recognise that Facebook and Twitter one art so massive, like an alternative, would be just for themselves, but also they? They do in fact work now what the work means.
In. These contexts is up for a lot of debate, but it is interesting how the call for why don't you find an alternative is because the alternatives have not been as good and people have not chosen them. So this is, finally making me think much more positively or Facebook than I did ten minutes ago, because leg I don't particularly care vit gab doesn't have the user growth that it might like because gab hide a singular responsibility in the killing of a bunch of old Jews of a few weeks ago. Lake this week, a men in DC got arrested on gun charges after several relatives kind of flag to police that they were concerned that he was had been involved in that shooting or was planning something else. His brother had committed suicide. The day
the tree of life shooting their role in that ecosystem has been kind of plumbed and it seems very plausible that there are actual. He cried is that might not have happened if people had not had a space in which they were egging each other on and that felt absolutely no responsibility. Like Mark Zuckerberg, losing sleep over the genocide of the writing is like not a sufficient response, but I kind of prefer that to a world in which the sea, doesn't loosely over an interpreter. Did they do anything about it? That's like Ben. I mean right. That is a good like a good point by it, I don't know man, I'm not super okay with a world where were letting a thousand flowers bloom in some of those flowers like just go and kill I mean I'm not a ok with that either. I just like. I feel that there's this unique problem with Facebook sort of
sitting in the middle of the room, soaking up so much oxygen, so much attention so much talent, playing ball size of the eye having, like literally a republican party operative, run its public policy division, while also constantly apologizing to conservatives for being biased to liberals because they're playing their own, please, you know it's it's a weird kind of thing and like we have readers like, I never get emails from like people who produce Primetime Fox news. Was saying like mad, I love the weeds, but why are you so mean about? You know Sean Hannity, because they know I'm so mean about Sean Hannity. I would suspect it's because producers of fucks frontiers it's, probably don't. Listen to the we re bringing me, but that's what I mean you don't need, but like there in a different situation like Facebook is tapping, mainstream
Audience like and everybody will. I think, rightly may be sent me emails about our weeds Facebook group. This is the it's so It is like we're all wrapped up in this system were like. You cannot exist in the media's fear without engaging with Facebook. Even as Facebook is like free reign for russian propaganda, and you know decides like they wanna only let you read Ben Shapiro Content and, unlike all kinds of nutty stuff like that, unlike Twitter is like awful in its own way, but is relatively small. You know like not small, small but relatively small, like most people are not on twitter all day and that to me makes it like, fundamentally not benign, but lake,
Ok, you know the such as a lot of weird stuff happens in the world, but Facebook like controls, everything I don't know. I think the twitter much like Fox NEWS like when not a lot of people are. You know, power users of aid, but one of those power users is the present the United It's like that definitely indicates a level of importance that is disproportionate to its market size. This district he's a good opportunity to tell people did a. We are doing another asked weeds anything and be you do not in fact need to be on Facebook to participate. Oh, yes, exactly will be another ask we anything I episode as part of our upcoming holiday content. There is a thread about it in the weeds Facebook Group, where you are welcome to leave a suggestion, but you can also email us at weeds at VOX dot com and it will be in the show notes as well. We are reading your emails. We are looking forward to your questions. We will.
We probably won't answer them all relevant answer them all its four brilliancy to genuinely Matt and Sarah. So if you have questions for for Jane too bad, because she's doing something, super exciting? And yes, I am speaking to athletes amherst about something apparently I'm so speaking, the changing nature of media brambles, I'm just gonna talk about football whole time. That sounds good. Have you been damaged prefer? I have not I've been to the universe if emperor surpluses at Elmhurst College- and I am not actually going to talk about football- a lot of students and alumni their recommend, this one burrito place in town, but it's actually discussed pollinating Amherst airlines, but that burrito place is growth. And with that ok, don't get mexican food in western Massachusetts. Do listen to the weeds, is delightful to China,
My group has Facebook at super benign or email us, because that is also cool. I want to thank all of you out there for listening thanks our sponsors, thanks to our producer, Griffin, Tanner and really do send us questions through whatever your favorite means. Is. I love doing these these aspects anything shows, but it all hinges on the quality of the participation from viewers the cat podcast from New York magazine, but it's much more than that, its thirty minutes a week where we really wrestle with ourselves: we're talking societal expectations, race, sex career ambitions and our bodies. I just spend our time on Instagram looking at health at any size nutritionist, talks and didn't I I'm a factor on the internet. They just come to me baby. The algorithm we're here.
Conversations you'd only have with your most trusted friend, so Gabby. What were the most painful memories I'm just regular, listen to the cut on Spotify Apple or your favorite podcast app
Transcript generated on 2021-09-11.