by Finian Cunningham, RT:
Former executives at Facebook are now coming out to condemn how the social media giant is “destroying society and civil discourse” and spreading “misinformation.” Moreover, they say, it’s got nothing to do with Russia.
One of the former Facebook gurus is Chamath Palihapitiya who told a business conference in the US that he doesn’t even let his own children use the social media platform, so harmful is it, in his view.
Those admissions should be seen as a welcome rational perspective to counter the hysterical Western mainstream media discourse propagated over the past year, which seeks to blame Russia for interfering in elections and sowing discord in society – largely, it is claimed, through manipulation of social media like Facebook.
Where is the screaming conspiracy theory about Russia and the EU referendum, now we we know they spent less than £1 on Facebook? https://t.co/mnwtdlMll9
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 13, 2017
Before getting to the admissions from the former Facebook executives, let’s recap on the pandemic delirium of alleged Russian influence.
US Congressional committees – at huge taxpayer expense – haul social media executives to face McCarthyite interrogations into “Russian interference”; British Prime Minister Theresa May accuses Russia of “sowing division” in Western societies; NATO and aligned think tanks, and media accuse the Kremlin of destabilizing elections with “fake news” sluiced through social media.
Over the past year, it has become almost an article of faith among Western governments, media and think tanks that Russian state agents used Facebook and other social media to wage cyberwar. “Russia is at war with us,” say hawkish senators like John McCain.
The biggest victory for the Russians, we are told, was the election of Donald Trump to the White House.
Incredibly, the Kremlin is accused of manipulating Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on, by placing adverts and posts to orchestrate public opinion across entire Western societies. Never mind that the evidence for this alleged nefarious scheme is tenuous at best, and never mind that the money spent on ads supposedly placed by Russians is paltry compared with the total revenues earned by social media companies.
The dearth of rational perspective in this narrative of “Russian meddling” is largely driven by Cold War-style stereotypical Russophobia. The notion that Russian agents or “Kremlin-sponsored news media” could sway voters and societies completely misses the forest for the trees. That is that Facebook and other mainly US-based social media have already a preponderant influence on billions of people around the world.
The impact of such social media on societies and personal relations is profound and inestimably huge. Yet, there is hardly a proportionate debate on this insidious influence. The alleged interference or manipulation by Russiam agents – a charge which the Russian government has categorically rejected – is transformed into a frenzied debate, when in reality the actual infringement is negligible.
Contrast that with the relative silence over the more plausible deleterious impact of Facebook and other Western social media.
Chamath Palihapitiya, a former vice president for user growth at Facebook who left the company in 2011, told the business conference that he felt “tremendous guilt” over his role in building the social media platform to its global reach of two billion users.
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