Facebook Independence Movement

Also I've learned from NYT that my work is not necessary.

Hello everyone! Writing this newsletter just before getting really busy and starting my travel streak. I have two international round trips and the usual İstanbul visit in the next two week or so. After sending this one, I’m going to pack for the first one.

How are you all doing?

Today I saw that NYT decided to let go Runa Sandvik, because they think “there is no need for a dedicated focus on newsroom and journalistic security.” Which made me angry because saying that sentence is same thing as saying “we don’t care about the journalists at all.” You might think that I’m exaggerating but in the current conditions, it’s even an understatement.

I’ve been working with journalists and activists on digital security for a long time now. Currently almost everything a journalist does happens digitally and they need more and more help every day because everything is broken. And as far as I know, nothing happened in the recent months that could make everything incredibly secure for journalists or people in general.

This is why I’m sure this decision has came from management side and definitely from someone who doesn’t know how journalists work at all. I’m not even sure they actually know or understood what Runa Sandvik was doing at all. It’s upsetting but also the perfect summary of how many big media organization works today, unfortunately.

If they ever really wanted to make a decision like this with enough information, they could’ve asked to dozens of experts or organizations and they will told them why they need it. Hell, even I can talk about why it’s a stupid decision for hours.

What I Wrote

You all probably saw Zuckerberg’s latest speech about Facebook and how it’s a force for good and why we should just get over the fake news. But one thing in that talk actually made me think more than the other parts. It was the part where he made Facebook all about Iraq’s invasion and giving people a voice.

We all know it’s not true and he knows that too. But this attempt to re-write Facebook’s history has so much to unpack. Starting with the fact that in the same conversation, he tells everyone that we should just live with misinformation. Either he’s mocking with everyone or actually believes what he says.

The main issue for me is that this is a major attempt to write a new myth for Facebook. This is a basic tactic stolen from nation state building handbook. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you need to write a myth for your nation to feel proud. This Iraq invasion story is nothing but that myth. He wants Facebook to become something more than the symbol of platform capitalism and this myth making is a step for that.

I know comparing companies and states got old but I think Zuckerberg actually believes that. He might actually think that he can built a “digital empire” which he can rule without anyone regulating him like another corporation. Libra, myth making attempt and saying he’ll fight Elizabeth Warren are all signs of him planning his way out to independence from other states.

Of course all of this is just a pure speculation but I’m feeling more and more confident about my theory every day.

WADI Filter

That’s pretty much it. Now I have to prepare for always on the move 48 hours. Although I love traveling, sometimes people does their best to make me not to. Times like this makes me consider becoming a full time hermit.

Take care of yourself. Talk to you soon!

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Who Writes This?        

Ahmet A. Sabancı (that's me), writer, journalist and researcher. Writing about many things including technology, surveillance, censorship, philosophy, science fiction and futures and occasionally about politics and Turkey. There’s a good chance you found me through my blog or Twitter or maybe some nice people recommended this newsletter to you. You can find more about me here and small selection of my writings here.