Project Veritas: Facebook official argues for government breaking up social media giant
The investigative journalism group Project Veritas on Monday published an exposé and a highly edited undercover video it obtained of Facebook Global Planning Lead Benny Thomas arguing for the government to break up the social media giant, with him saying, “No king in the history of the world has been the ruler of two billion people, but Mark Zuckerberg is — and he’s 36.”
In the guerrilla journalism group’s video, which contains many jump cuts and visual effects, Thomas can be heard saying: “I would break up Facebook, which means I would make less money probably — but I don’t care. Like that’s what needs to be done. Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Oculus, WhatsApp — they all need to be separate companies. It’s too much power when they’re all one together.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to this reporter’s request for comment.
MORE ON PROJECT VERITAS: Project Veritas ‘permanently suspended’ from Twitter, says company spokesperson
“No king in the history of the world has been the ruler of two billion people, but Mark Zuckerberg is — and he’s 36,” Thomas said when talking about the control that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg exerts over the company. “That’s too much for a 36-year-old. You should not have power over two billion people. I just think that’s wrong.”
“Most people don’t understand these things and most people don’t think about them,” Thomas also said, “which is why a lot of s— goes down because a lot of people aren’t paying attention.”
Going on to talk about the topic of algorithmic bias, Thomas argued, “There’s always built-in [algorithmic] bias…Guess what? Human beings wrote that code.”
MORE ON FACEBOOK: Facebook’s ‘supreme court’ is looking to expand its powers
“We’re re-looking at the algorithms, but it’s such a massive and complicated thing that it takes time to fix it,” he added. “Honestly, I think we need to bite the bullet and do it quicker, but you lose a lot of money as well if you do that.”
On top of these things, Thomas expressed that he thinks Facebook’s massive voter registration effort played a role in ensuring President Joe Biden‘s 2020 presidential election victory.
“One of the things I worked on, which made me happy, was a voter registration drive,” he explained. “These are the kinds of things — this is the good side of Facebook. This is the kind of thing that you can only do with a company that has the sheer scale and reach of Facebook. We set ourselves a goal of registering four million new people and we went over that target, we did 4.5 [million]”.
Off camera, the Project Veritas journalist exclaimed, “Wow. Registering 4.5 million voters.”
“It’s a lot,” Thomas then replied.
It should be noted that Facebook previously disclosed this number from their 2020 voter registration drive. Snapchat, which is not owned by Facebook, says that it helped over 1 million register to vote for the high-turnout election.
The journalist then brought up his own thoughts on Biden, saying, “Yeah. I’m pretty sure he [Biden] won that way,” and asked: “What do you think?”
“Exactly, I think so too,” Thomas replied.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.