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Mark F***king Zuckerberg Is Not Your Friend
You know, I had other things I wanted to yell about. I have about five essays in my drafts folder about like, deep systemic issues and big bad shadows on the horizon. And I have like three jobs, all of which are screaming for my attention.
But I cannot believe what I’m seeing these last few days. You have got to be kidding me.
I am as upset and shocked and sad as everyone else about Elon Musk dragging Twitter into a genuinely impressive horse-dive of corporate and cultural malfeasance that oh-so-recently landed muzzle-first in a vat of bafflingly incompetent moldy pimento cheese.
I’m not even a little bit surprised that after this walking embarrassment somehow felt the best possible strategy, after losing unimaginable amounts of money in a fever-dream attempt to wring a measly drop of the love he enjoyed in the early 2010s out of literal actual Nazis who can barely spell it, was to limit how often and long people could use an addictive social media site whose only source of profit is per-view advertising and a few thousand sub-snack box subscription fees, Mark Zuckerberg rushed out a half-baked Mastodon instance Frankenstein-stitched to the rib of Instagram to take advantage of all those suddenly rate-limited eyeballs. There was a gap in the market and Musk is just so brain-serratingly bad at running an actual business that isn’t two grifts and a government subsidy in a trenchcoat that he managed to essentially brick a site that had functioned without serious issues for a decade and a half the same week his mother had to tell him not to fist-fight another billionaire while his precious One Ring of social media digitally hit itself in the face over and over again until oblivion would have been sweet relief.
Sure, that’s the move, that’s a good move. A practically irresistible move. Good job capitalisting. I genuinely think any one of us, in the same position, would have done it with a twinkle in our eye and a spring in our step, no matter how we might feel about monopolies, economic systems, and the calcification of the internet. To be completely petty about online drama is human, to move heaven and earth to fuck that guy in particular divine.
I’m not even very surprised at how many suspiciously-positive posts and memes I saw the millisecond Threads launched. Or how many big names and brands who’d refused to move to any of the other available competitors, not even so far as to hold a username and a server on Mastodon, the one most usable most quickly, just in case, suddenly had thriving Threads feeds. This is Facebook. It’s been several interminable minutes. We all know how this works. Bots, farms, artificial boosting, algorithms, astroturfing, paying influencers, brands, and celebrities to migrate without saying they were paid. We are not new here. Asking Facebook to not fake engagement and steal data is like asking Canadian goose not to rip anyone’s face off. That is, fundamentally, what it does and what it’s for.
What did surprise me?
Well, it’s pretty fucking weird how the launch of Threads, which is ostensibly, you know, a company and a profit-generating service, almost immediately did a sickening costume reveal and became Mark fucking Zuckerberg’s Redemption/Woobiefication tour, and only like four non-Nazi people and one of their alt accounts are pushing back on that because everyone rushed to join this thing with a smile on their lips and a song in their heart a big anime heart-eyes for the guy we all knew was Noonian Soong’s first janky and obviously evil Build-a-Bloke workshop project three weeks ago.
Seriously, have we all lost our entire screaming minds?
It’s Mark. Elliot. Zuckerberg.
And yes, I looked up his fucking middle name so I could say it in the style of a harried mother yelling up the stairs because suddenly IT’S TOO QUIET and YOU KNOW HE’S FUCKING WITH SOMETHING UP THERE.
Aaron Sorkin made a whole-ass movie about how much this guy sucks and he didn’t even get to the part where everyone’s new pal sold out the 2016 election and let antivaxxers rub their musk all over his site pre-, mid-, and semi-post-pandemic because dolla dolla bills, I guess, also possibly he may have evolved the ability to extract nutrients from human suffering and stupidity and now requires them to survive, because none of that had happened yet but Zuckerberg sucks so much just the rookie phase of his assholery justified a major motion picture to lay out just how dedicated he was to sucking as hard as possible.
Now he’s “Zuck” and he’s our very cool uncle-friend with a quirky start-up who’s just really suddenly super into content moderation and preventing hate speech and fighting Nazis and community building and standing up to narcissistic billionaires and all that cutesy crap you dumb liberals probably like? Sure, that tracks. Why not.
BECAUSE IT’S MARK ZUCKERBERG AND WE ALL SAT DOWN AND AGREED HE WAS A SOULLESS AUTOMATON POWERED BY ESSENTIAL OILS AND OUR GRANDPARENTS’ FEAR YEARS AGO.
It started bubbling with the whole cage match thing, because of course we all want to see Elon Musk eat shit and cry impotent Wario-tears of humiliation. We’re not made of stone. He busted down the backyard fence and took our clubhouse and ate all our snacks while waving a lighter around in there and we all know it wasn’t that great or inflammable a clubhouse to begin with, but it was ours, sort of.
But it was Not My Fetish from the start: I don’t care about these people and they don’t care about me. I don’t want them in my life. I don’t want billionaires’ beauty pageant slapfights framed as entertainment for the masses like Emperor Commodus pretending to be a real big boy gladiator because the adulation was just so much purer than politics. See, if there’s a cagefight and pop culture is buzzing about it, human brains naturally want to imagine who will win. Which means taking a side. Which means rooting for one of these sweaty ghouls who’ve never put back a Hostess pie because the budget just couldn’t bear a 1.99 treat this week.
The whole “let them fight” thing is inherently passive. And it’s inherently accepting of the results. No, I do not want to watch Musk and New Coke Zuckerberg fight because what they’re fighting over is who gets to pick the specific way the rest of us get hurt.
A month ago, I didn’t know that privacy-gobbling fuckmoose’s kids’ names or what his wife does for a living. I didn’t know his new baby is really getting the hang of tummy time these days. I didn’t know he was into jiu-jitsu (also what the fuck I don’t like that at all, I prefer my billionaires out of breath and easy to catch) or knew how to smile almost entirely but not quite like a human and quite frankly I valued the fact it was pretty much universally acknowledged that propping up a tablet showing a looping gif of a donkey sharting uncontrollably on the actual original documents of each and every nation’s system of government on a swivel chair at a boardroom table would be a major improvement over his continued existence.
I certainly didn’t know what he looked like with his techbro fake-casual imitation-normal shirt off but strap in because WE ARE IN THIS HELL TIMELINE TOGETHER.
But I am not a monster so first, here is a picture of a kitten so that the thumbnail for this post isn’t that coelacanth-eyed motherfucker’s naked torso. I wouldn’t do that to you. I wouldn’t do it to any of us.
No but seriously, why have I seen this aw-shucks-I’m-just-a-regular-totally-rad-guy-casually-hanging-with-my-totally-unpaid-bros influencer pic jovially posted everywhere like no one remembers this specific actual guy fucked us all. It’s like that whole fever-dream patch of years where half-naked Putin was nippling all over the internet wrestling bears and tigers and grinning nosferatu-ly into the camera like the 1%’s Joe Exotic and very organically and not at all suspiciously the kids loved it and fawned all over him pretending this was wholesome and awesome? WHY ARE WE DOING THIS SHIT AGAIN?
DO NOT TRUST THIS BIPED.
The thousand-yard stare my man on the left is giving is the correct response. All of this reeks of astroturfing. I don’t even believe that the post criticizing his wife’s appearance that went viral over the weekend was genuine. It just made people defend him and like him more and talk about how at least he’s a normal human person with a nice family and she’s been with him form the beginning blah blah blah I do not care. It boosted this whole video-game “your enemy has joined your party and now it’s fine” narrative that has exploded with Threads and plastered all these images of what a great guy he is and how he’s standing up for us and actually kind of cool and what is actually happening is a billionaire is weaponizing his personal life in order to gain even more of the internet than he already controlled.
Mark Zuckerberg is not a normal human person have we lived and fought in vain?
Is Elon Musk a terrible Frankenbigot chaosgoblin with a seemingly bottomless capacity for pathetic childish bullshit, boiling gullible thick-skulled hatred, and actually pretty shocking stupidity? Is he a deadbeat CEO, a deadbeat dad, a liar, a nepobaby, a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, fingers-crossed-for-full-fascism vampire of human joy? YEAH DEFINITELY AND HE IS ALSO INCREDIBLY BAD AT DOING CAPITALISM WHICH IS PRETTY WEIRD WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT!
But listen to me when I tell you that even if you add up all the worst things the Emerald Emperor has manifested and facilitated and hoped to accomplish, it does not come close to what Mark Zuckerberg has already done, happily, without remorse, with full awareness of the consequences, after being repeatedly told to stop, to almost every single person with even the most basic access to the internet.
This is the same energy as all that fond fuzzy rehabilitation of George Bush after Trump flumped his carcass into the White House, down to the last atom. Failson Bush is no one’s fun uncle who paints dumb paintings and says funny things just because the next Republican was worse. The next Republican is always worse. Why do we feel the need to try to love these empty men? They do not love us. They do not love anything.
Stop calling him Zuck. I swear to god I haven’t seen his full name in two weeks. He is not your friend. He is not anyone’s friend. We are not going to memory-hole the last decade of Facebook actively strangling any brain in reach with a series of ever-more-laser-targeted tentacles.
This guy sold our data, including private messages, to Cambridge Analytica so that conservatives could lens their ads so finely, so individually, people were seeing and hearing exactly what they always wanted to, no matter what they’d always wanted to, with a kicky little Trump 2016 in the corner. He did the same thing for Brexit. He happily ran ads advocating for rape, beheading, and genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar, which is what we call aiding and abetting. He ran non-consensual secret psychological experiments on users to see how they changed their stances when the news they followed had its content subtly altered. He allowed misinformation, including the very worst of COVID denialism and anti-mask,anti-vaccine lies, to run rampant on Facebook for years because it outperformed the truth. Facebook knowingly employed Koch-funded climate deniers as fact checkers. He refused to fact-check political ads, remove Trump’s calls for violence, or take any steps to stop authoritarian governments’ manipulation of their algorithms and site at large.
And, no different than his supposed enemy Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg is a homunculus budded off the carapace of Peter Thiel, plausible Cenobite and definite actual vampire.
And that’s the short list. That’s the list I spent half an hour sourcing because you might not remember it all. It doesn’t include the things that are so obvious, pervasive, and taken for granted that we don’t even really bother talking about it, any more than we talk about how many fucking mouths a human person has. We all know the answer.
Facebook and Instagram aggressively harvest data, and not just the data we blindly agree to give them when we click TL;DR at the bottom of their terms & services. They own everything you post there and track people who aren’t even Facebook users to harvest their data, too. They manipulate their users’ feeds and insert posts that get high engagement whether or not the user has subscribed to anything remotely similar, which conveniently always turns out to be conservative brain-bag leakage because it gets fascists excited and normal people incredibly upset. And all that eventually leads to the fact that Facebook bears more responsibility than anyone for turning a major portion of most people’s families into conspiracy-barfing, white supremacist, medicine-denying, realityproof absolutely cracked bowls of screamgravy addicted to a LARP that out-weirds most works of science fiction and fantasy, hungry to witness the advent of true authoritarianism and the deaths of anyone who doesn’t toe the extremely fictional line, and they may never come back. If they didn’t die of COVID or FUCKING GENOCIDE.
Because people died, Mark. A lot of people. Real living thinking feeling human beings. Just died.
Musk let them run wild on Twitter. But Zuckerberg made them. He nurtured them. He gave them a place to safely yes, and each other into January 6th and whatever comes next. He’s resisted doing anything but helping them to greater heights of lunacy over and over again. What Musk wants to make of this world is our new best friend Zuck’s greatest hits album.
To quote Grosse Pointe Blank: "You should see the files on some of these fuckers. It’s like a demon’s resume.”
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is all of these fuckers in one. Say all three names, like a serial killer. Or a rap sheet.
Now, tell me, while our feeds scroll up full of jubilation at this or that screeching kobold of a “free speech” grifter gets posts taken down or banned outright from Threads, that you think the man who did all that has any intention of doing differently heading into 2024 and the nightmare election to come.
Not. A. Chance.
Not this guy. Not the man who started out infamously showing who he truly is:
Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard, just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS…People just submitted it. I don't know why. They "trust me."
Right now, Threads is already inserting posts you don’t follow into your feeds and it’s impossible to sort chronologically. Right now, you are signing over everything you post to them and the smallest speck of metadata they didn’t already have. And it’s just a beta-test in alpha drag. Right now, people who have railed against Facebook for years and would never dream of going back to it are giddily setting up accounts on Threads because that’s totally different and it’s just so great in the new clubhouse you gotta come see it guys!
Right now, the test-run of changing a deeply-entrenched public opinion very goddamned fast is under way: the actual cagematch isn’t between Musk and Zuckerberg, it’s between an algorithm and how you felt about Mark Elliot Zuckerberg a month ago versus how you feel about “the Zuck” a month from now.
It’s truly a spectacular play IF YOU’RE EVIL: use public animosity and emotion over the loss of a usable Twitter, something that, while insane, did unite people all over the world to drive all those still-progressive, still not-a-Nazi, still embracing reality eyeballs over to a site that purports to protect them from the horde that’s taken over Twitter, make it seem cool and fun and inclusive. Hey, it’s like the old internet! All the cool kids are doing it! This definitely won’t slowly morph into a long tall drink of misinformation as soon as the election kicks in in earnest and this magical jiu-jitsu master has a pipeline directly into the exact audience that fled Facebook and was semi-insulated from its constant haze of lies because Zuckerberg didn’t control that major social media platform.
Cory Doctorow gave us the concept of enshittification, but this is the evolved form: it starts out enshittified, and trusts our dopamine deficiencies to not care very much. It uses all the lessons Facebook has learned about how to get past people’s intellectual defenses, shrugs, doesn’t even bother addressing it, and says: yeah, but you’re going to join anyway, because you miss your friends or the memes or the politics or the celebrities or you run a small business and this IS going to be the new third place so if you want to eat you better set up shop, peasant. What are you going to do about it? Look at this picture of a billionaire with his baby. You don’t hate babies, do you?
Guys, this isn’t what I was talking about. This isn’t a new digital pub with new cups and old friends and odd little niches and new tables to explore and settle into. This is a human trap set up to look like what I was talking about. All the other places that burned down and fell into the swamp at least started out intending to bring people together. Started out small and spunky and open. This heralds the next phase of the internet: we’re skipping that step and going straight to social media company towns where the same five monsters whelped by Peter Thiel control what we are allowed to see.
Threads will be used to manipulate the election, 2024 and many others. It will be used to remove the concept of reality from the greater discussion. While Musk flails and whines and cries over in his little Nazi nest no one trusts anymore, New Friendly Zuck Model 2.0 Who Loves Your Woke Account And Little Babies Everywhere is making a play for the whole pie.
And he’s probably going to get it. We’ll happily sell ourselves for a gif, a meme, and a catty remark from a corporate account.
After all, it’s not a leopard eating our faces, it’s a panther. The panther is cool and funny. Not like the leopard. The panther loves his family and so down to earth and so super handsome and fit. It just feels so cozy in the panther’s lair. We all learned our lessons about leopards, it’ll be different this time.
The panther promised.
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