Creator of World Wide Web Has Advice for Zuckerberg

'You can fix it,' says Tim Berners-Lee
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2018 9:05 AM CDT
Creator of World Wide Web Has Advice for Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Mark Zuckerberg is promising better protection for users after the Cambridge Analytica mess, and he made a statement during a CNN interview Wednesday night that's drawing some attention. "I actually am not sure we shouldn't be regulated," he said of Facebook, adding that it's more a question of finding the "right regulation" than in debating whether there should be regulation at all. He also said he's open to testifying before Congress, though he added a vague caveat of "if it's the right thing to do." It's all part of what the AP calls a "media mini-blitz" to shore up Facebook's reputation. Details and developments:

  • Notable voice: Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the World Wide Web, sounds concerned ("this is a serious moment for the web's future") but also sympathetic and hopeful in a series of tweets, notes MarketWatch. "I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused," he wrote, adding that "some days I have the same feeling." His advice to the CEO: "You can fix it. It won’t be easy but if companies work with governments, activists, academics, and web users we can make sure platforms serve humanity."

  • Key comments: CNBC has a guide to Zuckerberg's most important comments to news organizations, including his assertion to the New York Times that the #DeleteFacebook campaign has not resulted in a "meaningful number of people" actually doing that. "But, you know, it's not good."
  • Non-apology? Zuckerberg also spoke to Wired, and the Q&A is here. An assessment by the magazine's Jason Tanz gives Zuckerberg credit for admitting mistakes but also senses a "classic non-apology" at play in his statement, "The world is changing quickly and social norms are changing quickly." Zuckerberg, writes Tanz, "suggests this as a reason why Facebook sometimes falls short—who can be expected to flawlessly adapt to such constant change? But in doing so, he neglects the fact that Facebook itself is the source of much of that change."
  • Let's slow down: An editorial in the Washington Post suggests Facebook's critics "take a deep breath." After all, "the very essence of Facebook and social media is to share information," and "those who enter the ecosystem of social networking should not suddenly be shocked that information is being shared." The key now is figuring out the right rules moving forward.
  • A bold solution: An analysis at Vox by Matthew Yglesias suggests that if Zuckerberg truly wants to fix all the problems that Facebook has brought upon the world—beyond privacy issues and fake news, it also makes people "lonely and sad"—he ought to consider the "impossibly difficult decision" to shut it down, period.
  • Permanent hit? A Politico assessment warns that the company's "slow, unsteady response" is "doing perhaps permanent damage" to the reputations of Zuckerberg and fellow Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg in Washington. That could hurt when the debate over regulation ramps up.
  • Happy analyst: The Financial Times rounds up reaction to Zuckerberg's comments, including from one analyst happy that he didn't hear any "radical actions" from Zuckerberg in regard to privacy issues "that could lower the monetization of Facebook."
(More Facebook stories.)

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