Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, said on October 21 that Facebook is introducing an “election security” program to provide better account protection for election officials, candidates and aides. In the evening, Zuckerberg said in an interview with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) night news program that Russia, Iran and China are trying to interfere in US elections.
Last week, on October 17, Zuckerberg also gave a speech at Georgetown University, criticizing the vibrato to remove politics as content, referring to the hope of bringing Facebook into China, but Facebook will not be infringing on freedom of speech. National Construction Data Center.
In addition, the World Internet Conference ended on October 22 in Wuzhen, China. Executives such as Facebook and other Silicon Valley technology companies in the United States collectively missed the China Wuzhen Internet Conference, which was recently opened.
Zuckerberg’s attitude turns a big turn
Regarding Zuckerberg’s accusation that China interfered with US elections, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded on October 22, Beijing time, “This is ridiculous. China has always pursued the principle of non-interference in other internal affairs. We are interfering with other countries. There has never been any interest in the internal affairs and general elections, including the US election. If someone says that China intervenes in the US election, then the evidence is taken.”
On the same day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Zaharova deliberately responded through Facebook, saying that Zuckerberg accused Russia of interfering with the US election is a fake news on social media. Zuckerberg did this, not only low cost but also good effect.
Zuckerberg’s position in these days is obviously different from the past, with a bit of ideological color. In the past, when talking about China’s Internet environment, he will avoid democracy and freedom in most cases, and this time he is condescending to criticize China’s Internet censorship against the values of freedom. He mentioned that the international version of the social media, DikTok, owned by China’s Beijing-based Bytedance Inc., believes that it does not provide privacy protection and free service to activists and protesters like Facebook. The purpose of politics is to review relevant statements.
Moreover, Zuckerberg publicly expressed dissatisfaction with China’s rejection of Facebook’s entry into mainland China on October 17, and believed that China’s asking price was too high. He said: “We hope that Facebook services will enter China and help create a more open society, but we will never be able to agree on the cost we have to operate there. They never let us enter.” This also means that Facebook’s efforts to enter mainland China have failed in the past four years, and China’s review of online companies is an important obstacle.
In the past four years, Zuckerberg has tried to promote Facebook to enter the mainland. For this reason, he spent time reading the books of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, learning Chinese, and meeting with senior officials of Chinese government such as Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan. Reuters reported that Zhukberg actually closed the door to the Chinese market in March this year. At the time, he announced plans to turn Facebook into more forms of private communication and promised not to set up data centers in countries that have human rights records that violate privacy or freedom of expression.
US government increases “control”
Zuckerberg faces the largest regulatory investigation in the history of the US government. The two parties in the United States were shocked by the false news, false accounts, and data privacy leaks exposed in the 2016 US election. In 2018, Congress asked Zuckerberg and management to attend the hearing in Congress. In June 2019, the House Judiciary Committee, controlled by the Democratic Party, announced a full investigation into technology companies such as Facebook and Google. At the same time, the Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, even called for the dismantling of such technology giants. US President Donald Trump also supports investigating Facebook.
In early September, US government officials secretly met with heads of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter in Silicon Valley to discuss how best to ensure the security of the 2020 elections and avoid the resurgence of Russia’s intervention in US democratic elections in 2016. According to media reports, the US officials who attended the meeting were from the National Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security. On September 19th, Zuckerberg even met with the two parties in Trang to communicate regulatory and legal issues such as market competition, privacy protection, information review and transparency.
It can be said that Zuckerberg faces great domestic pressure. In response to government regulation and investigations, Facebook increased its lobbying for US government departments in 2018, and the amount of lobbying broke the historical record again, reaching US$12.62 million, up from US$11.51 million in 2017. In response to personal privacy scandals, Facebook’s lobbying spending in the fourth quarter of 2018 was as high as $2.83 million.
The “threat” of Chinese Internet companies
In addition to responding to government investigations, Zuckerberg is also eyeing the expansion of foreign competitors, including TikTok. At an internal staff meeting in July this year, Zuckerberg expressed concern about the business expansion of TikTok. Zuckerberg believes that TikTok is the first consumer networking product operated by the Chinese and expanding well around the world. He mentioned at the time that TikTok is now popular in the United States, especially among young people. Its business expansion in India is also fast, and its scale has surpassed that of Instagram.
According to the US Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), TikTok’s global downloads in 2018 exceeded the Facebook downloads by a factor of two. Moreover, Tiktok also began to dig people from Facebook, and some of the old Facebook employees who left the company chose TikTok. In February 2019, Tiktok downloaded more than 1 billion people worldwide, which does not include the mainland Android system. According to Reuters, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, earned between $7 billion and $8.4 billion in work in 2019, and is expected to make a profit in the second half of the year.
In fact, Zuckerberg made a response to the TikTok threat as early as 2018, which is to launch a product called Lasso, but the effect does not seem obvious. Zuckerberg mentioned in an internal meeting in July this year that Facebook plans to launch some programs to launch a similar version in Mexico to prevent TikTok from taking over the Mexican market.
Some analysts believe that Facebook has some difficulties in competing with TikTok. For example, Facebook is mainly a social function, and TikTok is purely entertaining and very attractive to young people. This is precisely the group that Facebook is losing. And, by contrast, Zuckerberg’s mind does not seem as broad as Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel. Spiegel sees TikTok as a “friend” rather than an “enemy” and the two sides can even cooperate. Zuckerberg’s view of TikTok seems to be more ideological.
Zuckerberg’s “politician” gesture
According to Zuckerberg, China has a huge Internet market. Six of the world’s top 10 Internet platforms are in China, but these platforms do not provide uncensored Internet content services that are familiar to most people. But in fact, any Internet platform will have more or less regulation or restrictions on content dissemination. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reported that TikTok was used by ISIS terrorists to disseminate information. This type of information should be regulated or reviewed.
And Facebook seems to be indifferent to the abuse of the platform. For example, Facebook has handed over a large amount of “anti-promotion” work to an external force such as Snopes or the Associated Press, which specializes in verifying and debunking rumors and rumors. The latter uses the semi-automatic “fact check” team to mark those hot news reports as “Real or fake”. For those auto-accounts involved in political activities, Facebook also seemed to be powerless.
Recently, Zuckerberg had to increase contacts with the two parties in the United States, including the Democratic presidential candidate Warren. Warren criticized Facebook as “a machine that creates false information for profit” and advocates dismantling technology giants. At the same time, Trump and his Republican government also accused Facebook of favoring the left, or even its own left. This also went to Zuckerberg and had to take the initiative to increase contact with the right-wing members and the media. This kind of two-handed work is not good.
Now Zuckerberg has abandoned the attitude of businessmen, imitating the practices used by American politicians, and criticizing China from the level of democracy and freedom. It shows that he currently has no hope for the Chinese market. And he did more to cater to domestic politicians and to meet the needs of government regulation. Even if he is running for public office in the future, the remarks of maintaining the values of Western traditional democracy and freedom are considered extra points in the United States.