Zuckerberg’s Mentor: Facebook’s ‘Surveillance Capitalism Is as Immoral as Child Labor’

Mark Zuckerberg looking perturbed
Drew Angerer /Getty

Roger McNamee, a previous mentor to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, recently commented on the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen earlier this week. McNamee has been critical of Facebook and Zuckerberg in recent years, and now calls Zuckerberg’s business model of surveillance capitalism “as immoral as child labor.”

The Guardian reports that Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook and mentor to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, recently spoke to the paper about the testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen before Congress earlier this week.

American businessman, venture capitalist and former Facebook investor Roger Burroughs McNamee poses during a photo session in Paris, on September 19, 2019. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

McNamee has been critical of Facebook in the past and serves on the Facebook oversight board. McNamee previously criticized Facebook for its growth and management style, as well as the company’s approach to “fake news.”

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg askew on a TV

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg askew on a TV ( MANDEL NGAN /Getty)

Discussing Haugen’s recent testimony, McNamee stated:

Frances Haugen’s revelations and testimony before Congress are devastating to Facebook. She is courageous, authoritative, and utterly convincing. We knew about the issues before, but she changed the game by providing internal documents that prove Facebook’s management had early warning of many horrible problems and chose not to take appropriate steps. In her testimony, she confirmed that the incentives of Facebook’s business model lead to the amplification of fear and outrage to the detriment of public health and democracy.

When Haugen notes the moral failing of Mark Zuckerberg prioritizing profits over public safety, we need to recognize that this problem is far bigger than Facebook. All CEOs are told to focus on maximizing shareholder value at all costs. Facebook’s business model – which the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism – employs surveillance to track us and the use of data to manipulate our choices and behavior. It was invented by Google and has since been adopted by Amazon, Microsoft, and companies in every sector of the economy. Regulations must anticipate the harms to come from new use cases.

Haugen has removed the last excuse Congress had for inaction. They now need to legislate in three areas: privacy, safety, and competition. With respect to privacy, people have a right to make their own choices without interference. Surveillance capitalism is as immoral as child labor and should be banned. We also need something like an FDA for tech to ensure that products are safe and new antitrust laws to reduce the harm from monopolies.

Breitbart News has reported extensively on Haugen’s testimony, read more at Breitbart Tech here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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