Longtime Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee met Mark Zuckerberg in 2006, when the Facebook CEO was just 22, and his two-year company was still only taken into account by university students. Facebook was young, but McNamee was already convinced it was "the next big thing," he told the WIRED editor in chief Nicholas Thompson on Sunday during an initial conversation at SXSW 2019 in Austin. "The thing that had killed every attempt at social apps before that [was] mainly that the ability to remain anonymous allowed trolls to take over. I was convinced that Mark's requirements for authenticated identity were literally the Holy Grail, that was what would unlock this opportunity. "
There was no investment opportunity at that time; McNamee saw his meeting as a way to offer advice and a chance to meet the young guy who had found out [social networks]. "As McNamee admits," I didn't even have in my head that one thing that Facebook could be bad. I was a technological optimist like everyone else. "
During the decade, since the first meeting, McNamee, who continued to invest in Facebook, became a vocal critic of the company. In fact, he is the previous author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe a book where the caption alone runs home, how much McNamee's view of the company has changed.
McNamee explained the bow of his vision, early in the 2000s, the growing companies of Web 2.0, such as Google, Paypal and Facebook, began To "blitz-scaling". And as they quickly grew, they operated from another value system, McNamee said, who initially said "none of us are responsible for the disturbances we create. "The founders of these companies gathered lots of personal information to fuel their own growth and profits and thought it was OK." I don't think that in previous generations of Silicon Valley people would have thought that way, "McNamee said." These people are brilliant, and I have tremendous admiration for what they created; I just wish we could have created it without any of the business model's properties causing damage. "
McNamee still owns the Facebook store (and has a Facebook account)," he says, so people don't think he's the garbage company because he sold his interest in it. "Look, I understand I'm not the one perfect messenger, "he said." What I ask people to do is just think about the message. And understand this is not about Facebook. "
McNamee said his concerns began with Facebook because he knows best," but this is a problem that is endemic in a world where the business model is about tracking people, eminently domain on their personal data, using it for behavioral prediction, and then use the tools of machine learning and AI to steer people toward outcomes that make these predictions more valuable. "
McNamee said that he is particularly concerned about users and communities, not having the opportunity to discuss whether companies should collect information and profit from people's financial transactions, health data, or location." The business model developed behind a curtain, "he said." We didn't know that was what was happening. And there's a lot of history that says it's a model we don't want. "
Asked about Elizabeth Warren's latest suggestion to break up the major technology companies, McNamee called it" brilliant. "In response to another question, McNamee said he advises Warren team, as well as consulting with campaigns by two other Democratic presidential candidates, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker.
McNamee discussed a number of other issues, including the pros and cons of Europe's general data protection regulation, The deeper division between America and China's technological spheres, and the problems he sees with Google, Microsoft and Amazon.
But eventually the conversation came back to Facebook and the business model, an audience asked if Zuckerberg was going to go down. "No," McNamee said. emphatically. "I don't think this is about the people. I think this is about the business model. Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] at Google and Sheryl [Sandberg] and Mark at Facebook have the moral authority to change the business model. If you do not change the business model, it does not matter who is running it and if you change the business model, it is OK who is running it. "
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