the nation 


Let's Talk A Little More About Facebook

Zuckerberg Testimony makes Facebook look like an intelligence organization

I'm a little surprised by what I read in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's prepared statement to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, as reported by The Washington Post. 1

In section III, "RUSSIAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE," Zuckerberg recounts the activities of groups named APT28 and the now-infamous Internet Research Agency (IRA), and mentions that as recently as last week Facebook removed accounts and pages operated by the IRA, adding that "Some of the pages we removed belong to Russian news organizations that we determined were controlled by the IRA."

To me, remarks like these smack very heavily of intelligence reporting. Given all that happened with Facebook since the 2016 US federal election cycle, I suppose it's not really too much of a stretch to think that experts from the federal government would be embedded with Facebook in some sort of a fusion center-like environment, coupling events surfacing on the Facebook network with intelligence derived from other sources. I'm simply skeptical Facebook has the organic resources to make the statements in Zuckerberg's remarks.

Taking the "Facebook fusion center" concept a step further, it might not be too outlandish to suggest the US intelligence services might also be using the Facebook network for foreign intelligence gathering, or at least the enormous amount of data it generates. Sound silly? Certainly, Mr. Zuckerberg is well aware of impending election cycles abroad:

We’re committed to getting [the addition of verification requirements] done in time for the critical months before the 2018 elections in the U.S. as well as elections in Mexico, Brazil, India, Pakistan and elsewhere in the next year.

Facebook is a global phenomenon, reaching over 2 billion by Zuckerberg's count. By the middle of last year, India -- not the US -- was Facebook's top consumer, and among the cities with the largest populations of active Facebook users, the top ten were all outside of the United States. 2

It stands to reason that Facebook would observe increased regional traffic in response to events like elections. But I just can't shake the notion that Facebook couldn't "name names" without assistance.

personal statement

Humor posts aside, I only seek to understand the events I describe in these posts, and to form an opinion after considering the material I've gathered. I believe we need leaders in Washington to act in the best interest of the United States as a citizen nation of the world, and who represent the interests of the people they serve above the interests of party affiliation.