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Yonatan Zunger 🔥 @yonatanzunger
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
There's a really good interview here, where @karaswisher asks Zuckerberg all the right questions. I can't say that I'm satisfied with his answers, though. They feel superficial, not because he's dodging the question, but because he hasn't really grappled with it.
Good thought exercise: Imagine what Facebook would be like if its founder had been a Black woman from an otherwise similar background. How would its priorities have been different? What would "connecting people" have meant?
I think the deep flaw in Facebook's orientation comes down to this initial idea that its goal is to "connect people," as though that were a good in and of itself. It can sound that way if you're a certain person in a certain environment, but it very definitely Isn't Always True.
Nobody wants to be "better connected" to their stalker, or to the random jerk who yells at people on the subway. ISIS getting "better connected" isn't actually good for anyone else. Hell, most people only want to be "better connected" to their boss in *very specific ways.*
While Facebook seems to be starting to understand this, Zuckerberg's comments highlight for me that it hasn't really been internalized by leadership at all, and very likely never will be by this entire generation of leaders. They see the problem as perturbative.
That is, it's a basically good and working system with some minor flaws that can be tweaked away – rather than a system with *deep* flaws which may require major changes to architecture and priorities to resolve, in order to get the good things out.
But the most repeatable pattern I see from Facebook leadership (especially Zuckerberg himself) is only working around the outer edges of this idea, thinking within a narrow band of "acceptable" changes which minimize short-term risk.
(Footnote on the thought exercise: I exclude, of course, the obvious fact that Facebook wouldn't exist, because the culture of funding would never have backed a Black woman doing the exact same thing. But that's a whole separate thread.)
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