It is high time Mark Zuckerberg starts paying attention to the countries where Facebook matters and stop courting Beijing. This is as he returned from his latest pilgrimage in Beijing.
In a bid to win an admittance to the world’s largest internet market, the Facebook CEO has spent countless years wooing Chinese officials. Meanwhile, Facebook has swept like wildfire through the rest of Asia with complicated and even dangerous results.
Regarding user base, Asia is currently Facebook’s most significant user. This is indeed noticeable in the following aspects.
Facebook causes an unprecedented political sway
As a result of Mark Zuckerberg exploits, Asia is one of the biggest FB users. The company has acquired a unique political sway across the entire continent. Also, the media consumption of hundreds of millions of people has been inadvertently influenced as a result of this.
Amplified impacts in the region
There are amplified impacts in the area as a result of vast swathes of relatively new internet users turning to Facebook as their primary gateway to the rest of the internet.
It had become vivid that the attitudes and policies that the Menlo Park-based company adopted when it was primarily a United States social network are not enough when applied in authoritarian states, nations with deep ethnic divisions or weak democracies.
Public outcry in the United States
Facebook has finally agreed to take seriously charges that the social network played a crucial role in the shaping of the United States presidential election outcome of 2016.
This is after several months of public outcry in the U.S. During an earnings call earlier last week; Mark Zuckerberg said,
“how upset I am that the Russians tried to use our tools to sow mistrust.”
He added that he was “dead serious” on finding ways to solve the problem.
That step would be positive, but it further extends to examining the tricky impacts of Facebook in the rest of the world.
An accidental political juggernaut
It has recently been reported that Facebook has become an accidental political juggernaut in countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar. This is the through the provision of public evidence used by authoritarian governments to imprison liberals and journalists for expressing dissent and, amplifying the reach of racist demagogues.
The false and dangerous diatribes of these racist demagogues have happened to collect a lot of rapid clicks.
According to Scott Malcomson, author of Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce are fragmenting the World Wide Web and director of special projects at Texas-based Strategic Insight Group, “the platforms used to maintain they were papermills rather than newspapers,” during the early idealistic days of the internet.
However, it is no longer possible to think of the internet as a world flattener, which empowers only the virtuous masses or even as a great utopian leveler. Effects of the digital revolution are complex and varied around the world. This is the dawning reality.
Facebook can neither deny its moral responsibility to try and comprehend how law, cyberspace, and politics collide in each of the countries it operates nor its obligation to do something about it. Notably, in many parts of the globe stakes include liberty, life, and freedom of speech the most basic of political rights.
Today in Myanmar, Facebook is the internet. Upon buying a smartphone from a sidewalk vendor in Yangon, a Facebook account for novice users will be activated by the seller on the spot.
Many people there don’t bother with email if they have Facebook. This staggeringly recent development has taken the nation by storm, whereby many have multiple Facebook accounts.