“You’ll never believe how hard Mark Zuckerberg just DEMOLISHED presidential candidate Donald Trump!” erupted the internet earlier today.
Which would have been noteworthy, but that’s not what happened. Facebook kicked off its annual developers’ conference with a keynote address from yes, Mark Zuckerberg. During his speech, the boy genius espoused some widely held (and for Silicon Valley dwellers, financially beneficial) beliefs: The internet is good, staying connected is good, cutting yourself off from people is bad, etc. Here’s how he put it:
As I look around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against the idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as “others.” I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet.
It takes courage to choose hope over fear. People will always call you naive but it’s this hope and optimism that’s behind every important step forward.
We already knew Mark Zuckerberg liked the internet. We already knew Mark Zuckerberg wholly supported immigration. And we already knew Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of a massive cooperation, likes free trade. But now, we also know that Mark Zuckerberg is okay trotting out that tired, unsubtle reference to Donald Trump’s affection for building walls.
Which is fine! As the ostensible gatekeeper for the medium by which one-seventh of the world consumes a good portion of their media, nothing Mark Zuckerberg says about politics will ever be entirely benign; it makes sense for him to play it safe. And to his credit, Facebook’s users love him for it:
What doesn’t make sense, however, is heralding Mark Zuckerberg as a champion for getting as close to benign as someone in his position can possibly get.
Mark Zuckerberg does not need to be called a hero for saying exactly what every sane human is already thinking. “The nazis shouldn’t have killed all those people.” “Princess Diana’s death was sad.” “Donald Trump is a Bad Man.” Each statement exactly an ATTACK as DECIMATING as the one before it.
A not unrelated rule of thumb for bloggers: Before claiming that anyone “targeted,” “blasted,” or “slammed” Donald Trump, make sure they actually said the man’s name.