Has Facebook's $5 billion IPO gone to Mark Zuckerberg's head? In new propaganda, the Facebook CEO claims Facebook will spur a populist transformation in governments around the world—an idea he called "arrogant" less than a year ago.
As part of Facebook's IPO Cas$htravaganza, Zuckerberg wrote a lofty a letter to investors about how Facebook is not all about the millions and millions of dollars they're making. The part that caught our eye was where he says Facebook hopes to "change how people relate to their governments and social institutions."
In language that could have come from an Occupy Wall Street Press release, Zuckerberg writes:
By giving people the power to share, we are starting to see people make their voices heard on a different scale from what has historically been possible. These voices will increase in number and volume. They cannot be ignored. Over time, we expect governments will become more responsive to issues and concerns raised directly by all their people rather than through intermediaries controlled by a select few.
Through this process, we believe that leaders will emerge across all countries who are pro-internet and fight for the rights of their people, including the right to share what they want and the right to access all information that people want to share with them.
Zuckerberg's prediction of Facebook-powered populist utopias contrasts markedly with how he distanced Facebook from last year's Arab Spring, when much was made of the social network's role in organizing actual populist uprisings.
"Facebook was neither necessary nor sufficient for any of those things to happen," he said at a forum at the e-G8 summit in Pari last May. "It would be extremely arrogant for any specific technology company to claim credit. People are now having the opportunity to communicate, that's not a Facebook thing. That's an Internet thing."
When Facebook was being credited as an engine of social change, Zuckerberg claimed it was just another tech company. But now that Facebook has self-actualized as a tech company, Zuckerberg claims it's an engine of social change. This is part of an overblown PR push to, as the New York Times puts it, paint Facebook as "a company with goals far loftier than the moneymakers on Wall Street."
But maybe Facebook will now actually do something for the activists and disenfranchised people who use the platform for social change, instead of chasing them off Facebook, again and again in favor of profit-friendly policies. Now that Mark Zuckerberg is going to start claiming credit for transforming governments around the world, he'll have to back it up with action. To do otherwise would be the height of arrogance.
[Image via Getty]