Facebook Without a Human Face

The worst places often have the best-sounding names. So it was with the German Democratic Republic. So it is with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. So it shall be with a “globally harmonized network.” That network is Mark Zuckerberg’s name for world government via the World Wide Web: the bleeding edge between the virtual and the real, where the former obliterates the latter, where public messages have no private messengers, where safety is impossible because secrecy is impermissible.

Zuckerberg prides Facebook on having a searchable archive that shows who pays for ads. Thus does absolute transparency further tyranny absolutely, because when dictators can see the faces of dissent, when it is easier for the enemies of freedom to go online than it is for them to go door-to-door, when a keystroke opens more doors than the hardest knock on any door, when democracy dies before the klieg lights of a soul-destroying tyranny—when that happens, we can thank Zuck for our not-so-good luck.

In the meantime, he wants Congress to better regulate what Facebook seeks to restrict: political speech. He wants legislators to write laws like lines of computer code, identifying without interpreting the context of an ad, policing without parsing the language of an ad, enforcing without explaining the erasure of an ad. Thus shall Zuckerberg harmonize his network. Thus shall he replace the U.S. Supreme Court with a global court whose charter is unclear, whose composition is unknown, whose constitutionality is uncertain.

That Zuckerberg hates what is constitutional, that he hates hate speech, that he forbids Facebook from publishing what he hates, that he decides what speech is harmful—these powers are his alone, or so he wants them to be, all because he runs a private company. That the public does its business on his property is, in his opinion, beside the point. Rather, that is the point: that Zuckerberg can do as he pleases, suppressing speech to synchronize it, silencing speech to synthesize it, sanitizing speech to symphonize it.

The only speech he likes is by a speaker he likes the most—himself.

Photo credit: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images

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