Mark Zuckerberg will go down in history as a tragic figure, and one befitting an age of billionaire savior delusions. He claimed to change the world even as he maimed his country. He pledged to rid the world of diseases while ignoring the disease he was spreading.
He embodies every tendency I have tried to take on in @WinnersTakeAll. The Silicon Valley pretense of not being powerful, and therefore responsible, of just being an empowerer of others.
The fantasy of the businessman-as-thinker that allows a man like him to become, in his own mind, a philosopher, a sage prophesying the new world instead of just another self-interested businessman like the rest of them.
The figure who pretends to be merely predicting a future that he is in fact ruthlessly fighting for, a future that is asphyxiating to many people and industries and communities.
The preposterousness of doing your day job cynically, corruptly, monopolistically, without regard for the public good, while very publicly and very ceremoniously donating some of the profits from that ruthlessness to "saving" humanity.
The absurdity of purporting, because you started a dorm-room social network, to be a leader of mankind and solver of its problems, when you are, in fact, a moral debtor who in many ways should be asking for your society's mercy.
Two and a half years ago, when I started reporting and writing @WinnersTakeAll, people were aghast that I would take on people like Zuck who seemed to be doing so much good. Now we all know.
We are living in a collective fantasy that the people who cause our problems are the best at solving them. That is how Zuck ends up being a leader of rethinking the news after eviscerating it. How he can position himself as a force for democratization while corrupting democracy.
And that false confidence in billionaire saviors, that collective intuition that they are somehow able to rise above their tawdry interests and serve humanity, is how Donald Trump is president.
Mark Zuckerberg is, then, the private-sector, left-leaning version of Donald Trump: a billionaire who should have aroused our weariness and skepticism but whom we allowed to rule us instead.
If you work for Facebook or elsewhere in the belly of this beast, and you want to tell your story, my DMS are open, and my Signal is the same: @AnandWrites.
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