July 5, 2021

When Trying to Act more Human goes Wrong: Mark Zuckerberg celebrating 4th of July.


Who doesn’t know this situation? You are celebrating a national holiday, and all of a sudden, the internet tears you apart—Happy 4th of July, Mark Zuckerberg.

As a Facebook user, I am often channeling my inner Karen these days—I would really like to talk to the manager.

But unfortunately, Mr. Zuckerberg doesn’t have time to fix the problems of his platform because he is busy trying to act more human. The emphasis is on “trying to act.”

Apparently, he thought it was a great idea to get an electric hydrofoil surfboard and wave the American flag with the song “Country Roads” playing in the background.

The internet had different opinions on that, and it probably didn’t take long for Zuckerberg to regret this move.

There is a difference between surfing and zipping around on a toy that costs more than 10,000 dollars. Surfing is a sport that connects us with nature, challenges us to align with the forces of the ocean, and teaches us patience. These electric “surfboards” are wasting energy, my dog could ride them, and the only skill needed is having a lot of money.

But besides that, Zuckerberg’s performance is a display of privilege. What some call “trying to act more human” is something I would call a cheap attempt to distract from being a threat to democracy.

Yes, I said that. I think Zuckerberg and Facebook are a threat to democracy. I don’t even say that he is doing it on purpose, but his personal slogan “move fast and break things” already tells us a lot about his morals.

Social media moved pretty fast over the last few years, and it almost broke democracy. There is no doubt that Donald Trump would have never won the election in 2016 without social media. Trump not being president for four painful years could have saved us from a lot of trouble.

This brings us to the next topic: COVID-19.

Zuckerberg’s platform was one of the main sources of disinformation during the ongoing pandemic. After the outcry got too big, he slowly started taking responsibility and started banning folks who used his business to put others in danger by spreading fake news.

Thanks to his algorithms, he knows what I want to buy next. He spent a lot of money on developing that technology.

Unfortunately, he didn’t spend much time on finding out that I am sick of seeing the same 10 people posting their lunch every day. Zuckerberg’s service also doesn’t understand that folks actually care about human rights, climate change, and democracy—at least, that’s the impression I get when scrolling through my timeline.

Of course, it is also our responsibility how we use social media, but it would be nice if Zuckerberg’s company wasn’t trying to cash in on my occasional emotional instabilities. The documentary “The Social Dilemma” showed us that social media doesn’t really care about the type of interactions between users; they just want us to be online all day.

Every discussion with hundreds of angry comments is time we spend to pay for Zuckerbergs ridiculous pseudo-surfboard. Every minute we invest into pre-planned outrage is giving more power to his network. Every intimate detail we share feeds into the algorithm that only cares about what we could possibly want or buy next.

If cruising on a lake to country music is his idea of connecting with the working class, I would suggest hiring new advisors—maybe someone who gives him a reality check.

Social media could be used for so many good things. Derek Chauvin would probably not sit in jail without social media. Why not build on that?

Mr. Zuckerberg, if you really want to reconnect with average folks, then start improving your business model.

On July 4th, 2022, I would like to see you supporting local businesses. How about supporting indie media by changing your algorithms back to pre-2015? And most important of all: be more transparent toward your clients.

Let us know how much money is in our posts. Many of us would be surprised about the marketing value of our daily behavior. Why not pay all these content creators that bring in all the money?

I know that all of that won’t happen anytime soon, but that would certainly increase the popularity of Mr. Zuckerberg.

After all, we all want to feel loved—and that also goes for tech-billionaires. But if you want to do something cool, do something cool—I would suggest something that is of benefit to others.

Here is a good read on how to do that—for our “surfer-boy” and all the other super-rich folks who would like to “act more human.”


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