Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One:  Mark Zuckerberg Should Be On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

Part One: Mark Zuckerberg Should Be On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:00

Part One: Mark Zuckerberg Should Be On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What's digging graves for my democracy? I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ******** podcast about the worst people in all of history. My guest this week for a very special 2 parter is is the inimitable, which I've introduced you as the inimitable the the very close to Emmy winning Jamie Lofton. I lost to Forky, Robert, and I don't know who that is. Which means you won in my in my book, I knew I was. I was like, there's no way that Robert knows who fork he is and that is gonna give me peace. Yeah. I don't know. Never heard of, never heard of them before. He is forky. Is it someone the teens like? Because I you know what I hate is the teens. I don't hate the teens. Teens are obsessed with Forky, Forky, Forky. They need their tik T.O.K, they need their their cold brew and they need their forky. Does this have something to do with whatever 100 gecs is? What is that? It's some it's some music thing that the teens love. The teens who are always starting the fires love, love 100 gecs and I I love the teens who are always starting the fires. From the teens in Portland, from the fire team, from the fire team. Really a fork. He was. No, he was a spork. I just he looks like with four kids. I ordered a porky and I'm gonna throw it. I'm gonna, like, smash it up. I don't need to be a good sport about losing to. No, no, **** that noise. Let's find his home address and commit federal. I mean, sorry, you down? And I'm going to commit a crime like, yeah, I was when I was like, I wonder in Minecraft. Teens love their Minecraft, Robert. No, I mean, I'm just saying you should only talk about committing crimes in Minecraft, because then you can't get in trouble if you do commit the crime later. That's the way the law works. Well, I've been kicked off of Twitter for threatening the life of someone fictional before, so you have wondering if it if it would happen with Forky, but it seems like Jack is in full agreement. That fork. He's gotta go. Yeah, you know who else has to go? Jimmy about to say guess who else is committing crimes and definitely have to go. Opened this episode, you know, saying who's, who's the digging graves for my democracy. You know, in sort of the, you know, that's kind of a little play on my one of the ways I introduced this show. Uh, well, the person who's digging graves for our democracy is Mark Zuckerberg, and we have another two parter about him today. Whoa. Yeah, that's right. I can't believe you're doing this. Yeah, yeah. I wrote another like 10,000 words about Mark Zuckerberg just for you, Jamie. Just for you. So it's worth of crime since we last spoke. Think about him. Yeah, he's done more than that. I had to leave like, there's I just finished writing last night and there was still, like four articles worth of stuff to conclude that I was just like, well, I'm not getting to this because I have to sleep. Listen, we we're all, we're all entitled to save. I have wear this. I ordered a a horrible shirt with Mark Zuckerberg on it the last time we covered him. You did. I wear it all the time. It's all worn in, what with all the crimes? What with all the crimes? Yeah, well, let's talk about Mark Zuckerberg. So we've talked about Mark and his creation Facebook quite a lot on this show already. Last year we did a three-part series on the *** ** * *****. But a lot has happened since then and Mark himself has only grown more dangerous. And I I so, yeah, we have to talk about him again and his company. And I think that in order to properly tell this story, we're going to need to actually go back to Mark's back story because there's a rather critical part of it and part of his psychological profile that I left out during the last series of episodes because I'm a hack and a fraud. So I missed this last time. But it it connects some dots that I think are important, especially in the context of him not ******* at Harvard. No. No. I mean, a lot has to do with him not ******* at Harvard, but this is not specifically about that, although it probably played into the fact that nobody wanted to **** him at Harvard. Slash ever. So, yeah, let's we're going to go back in time to what I think is jamies favorite period of history, the childhood of Mark Zuckerberg. Yeah, I go there in my dreams. Yeah, we all. Yep. In particular, we're going to be talking about his high school years at Williams Exeter Academy. Now, at present, tuition there costs a little less than $45,000 a year for the day school, which is more than the average American mix. Yeah, as you might expect, young Mark spent a lot of his time there coding, fencing and studying Latin, which is like 2 out of three things that I did in high school, too. So, you know, whatever. Yeah, the crime of being forced to study Latin? I'll never get over it. Yeah, no, it it ruined my life. Except for that one time we got to watch Life of Brian in class, which I feel like the teacher was stretching and justifying. That I was grateful for. So Mark was in particular a really big fan of studying Latin. Unlike us, he he loved it, and his study of the language bred a fascination with the history of ancient Rome. And again, I I kind of find this interesting because that's like the opposite of how it happened to me. I took Latin because I was a huge history nerd about Roman history, and then I stopped liking Roman history as much because I was so bored of Latin class. Yeah. So Mark fell in love with the language because learning it was fairly similar to coding. And then he kind of fell in love with the history next. And he later explained to a reporter, quote, you have all these good and bad and complex figures. I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Now, Jamie, the Augustus he's talking about was Augustus Caesar, who is the guy who became the very first Roman emperor in 31 BC he was Julius Caesar's hair air, and, yeah, he was Julius Caesar's air. And he was just 17 years old when his mentor died. And suddenly he found himself in control of, like, Caesar's armies and, like, fighting for control of Rome. And he basically, kind of, as a result of this, spent almost his entire life in power. And by the time he was finally emperor, his, which like took some years, you know, Caesar dies and there's a bunch of wars and stuff like. So by the time he's like Emperor in his 20s, like the idea. Like any memory of his life. Like think back to when you were like 25, how well you remembered being 15, right around 16 years old. Not at all. So by the time he's emperor like Augustus is like everything that isn't commanding armies and and controlling the destiny of 1,000,000 would have been like a dim memory. So you can you can see why. You can see why Mark has continued after getting out of high school to kind of identify with this guy. Because both of them are people who like while they're, you know, very young adults. Uh, come into unbelievable power and exercise, largely misuse it and largely misuse it? Yeah, Mark would not say that Augustus largely misused it. Well, of course not. Now. Augustus did go on to become one of the longest serving emperors in Roman history, and he's generally remembered as one of the best. Although this is mainly because he hired all of the like a bunch of broke authors and poets to write the history of his reign, as opposed to like historians are increasingly. Critical of Augustus as they analyze actual history and not just like read whatever. I think it was plutonium. Like just wrote about it. Yeah. It's like a hiring like fanfic writers on to be like, hey, hey, hey, that's literally what the idiot is. You know, the Union is like the poem, like it's it's it's a rip off of the Iliad that's supposed to be about the founding of Rome that connects it to the sacking of Troy and was written largely as like an largely. To glorify Augustus because it was like making the case that his ancestors were all these ******* cool *** people. It's also frustrating to me like that when when things like the Ennead are treated as, uh, like unquestionable primary source where it's like no people were ******* around with the portrayal of history always. It was propaganda even more shallow than our propaganda is today. I fell asleep reading it when I was 14. It's it's also bad. It's a bad book. Boring. It's boring as hell, unlike the Iliad, which, uh, which absolutely slaps. Like, pretty good book, all things considered. **** in there, some good ideas, good **** in there. What's the Eneide and Virgil? I don't know. I only remember, like, half of this stuff, and I didn't check that he had a ghostwriter. **** Virgil. I mean, he kind of was the Emperor's ghost, right? Anyway, whatever. So yeah, Augustus, like propaganda, like, hires a bunch of propagandists to to make it look like he was he was, like, awesome. And that's part of why we remember him as being amazing, and part of why Mark is obsessed with him. And, you know, one of the things that's interesting about Augustus is that his birth name was actually Octavian. He took the name Augustus because it meant lofty or serene, and he needed everybody to know how cool he was. So it's not, it's not hard to see why young Mark would have liked both idolized and identified with this guy. By the time he was 30, Augustus controlled basically the entire western world. And Mark Zuckerberg, by the time he was 30, controlled an online empire larger than the entire western world. He controlled my entire self esteem for a good half. Yeah, it's yeah and destroyed all of journalism anyway. So yeah. So again you can see like why why Mark idolizes this guy because he's had a lifelong fascination with him. In an interview with The New Yorker, Zuckerberg explained quote basically through a really harsh approach. He being Augustus established 200 years of World Peace. What are the trade-offs in that? Zuckerberg said, growing animated. On one hand World Peace is a long term goal that people talk about today. 200 years feels unattainable. On the other hand, he said that didn't come for free and he had to do certain things, no. Very funny. Honestly, I got to be a you kind of lost me for a second at becoming animated because I cannot really imagine I can imagine. Like for him, the only thing that makes him, that makes him show human emotion is thinking about dominating the entire world and forcing it into to to act the way he wants it to. Like imagining himself as dictator of the planet is the only thing that brings him excitement. It's what? It's what his wife has to like whisper into his ears. In order to help, in order to make a child with him, I guess. I guess world leaders can have very weak arms. I don't know. Do you think he spits when he talks? Yes, yes, it's either. It's. I feel the same way about how I always think of, like, does Beetlejuice come wet scabs or dry scabs? I could picture him having a very wet mouth or a very dry mouth, but that's the thing. He's a heavy breather. Yeah, it's it's a nightmare all around. I think we can all agree on that. But what's most important to note at this point is that Mark Zuckerberg, #1 Augustus, and this idea that he brought World Peace for 200 years, very important to mark, important for him to talk about to journalists and stuff, something he really makes a point of getting out completely inaccurate, wildly inaccurate. There's a number of reasons it's wildly inaccurate, for one thing. Like he's talking about. Is when he says 200 years of peace, he's talking about 200 years of peace. And like the Mediterranean and Western Europe, it's he's not talking about China, he's not talking about Southeast Asia. He's not talking about Japan. He's not talking about North America, South America, the Caribbean, all of which were places that had wars and conflicts during this. Because, again, Mark is fundamentally incapable of like, like a lot of Americans fundamentally incapable about thinking of thinking about those places as as real, as as Western. History, yeah. So number one, that's that's a problem right from the jump. But even within the context, even if we give him credit and saying like, he's saying, no, no, he had 200 years of peace within sort of the classical ancient world, that's also complete *********. Because, yeah, I'm gonna just read a short list of some of the wars that Rome got involved with during the 200 years after Augustus came to power hit it. The Roman Parthian War, a 58 to 63 buddhic is uprising. This was like that, that that English queen who like LED an uprising against Rome in a 6060 to 61. First Jewish Roman War 66 to 73. This is 80, sorry. The Roman Civil War of 68 to 69 AD. Dominions Daclan wore 86 to 88. The first Dacian War 101 to 102. The second Dacian War 105 to 106. The Roman Persian Wars, which started in the mid or in the early hundreds. The kitos war. The second Jewish revolt from 132 to 135. The Marcomannic wars. 166 to 180 and of course the Roman Civil War of 193 to 197. And again, well, I mean, I think if you put those 20 or so 200 years of peace, it's totally peaceful. Other than all of the wars I just listed, it was a period of total peace. It's like saying after World War Two, the US presided over like half a century of global peace if we ignore the millions who died in Vietnam and Cambodia and Lao and Korea. And of course, all of the hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, who died in Latin America. Half a century of peace. Complete peace. Total peace. What a what? I mean, to be fair, he went to Phillips Exeter Academy. So his brain is a bunch of worms and a few empty deep batteries. Yeah, his history education was his teacher jacking off with a flag and asking if the class had any questions. Maybe sucks. There was a boy that was supposed to take me to a skating rink from there once and then he he didn't show up. Well, that's all I have to do to urge that people burn down Phillips Exeter Academy. This is, in fact, incitement to a crime. Please, on behalf of Jamie, not for the Mark Zuckerberg stuff to defend your your avenge my date from 2007 from 2000, 2007. I forget you're younger than me. So yeah. And so those are, that's a, that is a short list of some of the wars that occurred in that 200 year. That Mark describes as World Peace. Those were not the only violent conflicts during that. And outside of those wars there were a ******** of battles and campaigns that Roman soldiers fought and died in during this. Because there were just a lot of times where, like Romans, there would be like a battle that was this conflict. And you know, anyway, my favorite of these conflicts, and I think one that we need to talk about before we get back into the story of Mark Zuckerberg, because I think this is relevant. My favorite of these battles that happened during Augustus's 200 years of peace is the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Have you ever heard of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest? No. Good name though. Yeah, you you might also call it why you should never **** with the Germans. And this happened kind of later on in Augustus's reign when he was an older man. And the basic story is that this general named Varus leads three entire Roman legions which whole nations have been were destroyed by forces of that side. 3 Roman legions is a is a it's about 18,000 men and a massively competent armed force. Like, the Roman Legion is the deadliest weapon in the world at this period of time. So this guy Varus, in order to kind of push the Roman borders eastward and basically as a way to like, they've been having issues with these Germanic tribes, like viruses going in there with this massive army to just like, **** **** up and show the Germans who is boss. But they wind up in the middle of these deep, dark German forests and they're led into an ambush by a German soldier, guy named Arminius, who actually had gained Roman citizenship but was like, yeah, working for the other team. Inside, and it's this horrible one of the one of, like, the five or six great military disasters in all of human history. The entire Roman army is massacred, leaving behind a pile of bones that are still being discovered to this day. It was one of the great defeats in Rome's long history, and it basically stopped Romes expansion to the east. Like this is this is a an incredibly like. It's. It's just a nightmarish military defeat, and it's an incredibly significant. Battle. And it came after decades of what had been continuous expansion for Augustus, right? He'd gotten used to everything working for him militarily. And then there's just this complete, calamitous defeat and the loss of so many of Rome's best soldiers in a single battle. Is is said by historians to have kind of broken the emperor's mind. One of his own, like private paid historians, wrote that for weeks afterwards he would just wander around his palace in a daze, slamming his head into doors. And screaming various give me back my legions. OK. I will say that this is very similar to what I've been doing with Forky for the past. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can really empathize with Augustus here. Yeah. OK. Now I'm starting to see him see his side of things. In a way, haven't we all gotten 18,000 Italians killed in the woods of Germany? I know. I have 1000 Italians living in my mind. Yeah, we're all Italians anyway, so. Yeah. So this, this is this is a a battle that's important, I think, to understand, in part because it occurs during the 200 years of peace and in part because Augustus is a figure that reminds me a lot of Mark Zuckerberg and what happened to him in this defeat, the hubris that led him there is something that I think will happen to Mark eventually. I don't know what Mark Studenberg Wolled will be. I don't think it was Cambridge Analytica, but I think it is coming. Yeah, yeah. And I and and I'm sure Mark knows that story. He has to. It's one of the most famous stories in all of Roman history. He's a nerd about this stuff. He absolutely knows about that battle. I've never seen him talk about it, though, but he talks about Augustus a lot. He did note that during that New Yorker article that he and his fiancee, now wife Priscilla, spent their honeymoon in Rome. A quote My wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon, me, her, and Augustus. All of the photos were different sculptures of Augustus. Yeah, no, they go on vacation to Rome for their honeymoon and he just keeps taking pictures of sculptures of this dead *******. He thinks that he's he's he's the new emperor of the world. Imagine having he's gonna bring peace, like just Priscilla having her bad decision shoved in her face over and over every time they passed. She's a billionaire now, so she's, I mean, she's also the worst, you know? Like, I don't have any sympathy for her. Really? God. Yeah. Yeah. But I do believe, I do believe. Like a lot of you know, you always have to kind of second guess things that Mark says in interviews because he's a liar and because he's trying to get out a propaganda narrative, much like Augustus was, by hiring all of those those, uh, poets to write his story. But I think Mark's being honest when he talks about his fascination with Augustus because #1, have you seen the picture of him getting that *******? He keeps getting the haircut. He keeps getting the ******* haircut that, like Augustus has, like the Roman Emperor. Is that why he has that ****** haircut? Yes, it is. He makes his wife give it to him. I'm gonna send you harassing. It's it's the worst thing that's ever happened. And there's a photo as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. He had his wife start giving him the ******* weird Rome haircut that he gets. The Weird Augustus type haircut, the Octavian or whatever. I'm sending you a picture right now. We'll have it up on the site and it's just his eyes are he has the dead. It's like that. It's like that scene. Jaws like dead eyes like a dolls eyes. Like, Chucky is a more emotive character than him. It's that is so dark, but it is. It's horrible. Does not have the hairline for that haircut. No, no one, no one has. Like it was a bad haircut for the emperors to have. I've seen this, I've seen this question kind of asked about a few times. I saw most recently asked by Julia Claire. But like, why are all billionaires? Like, why can't they afford to like, look OK, like, why can't they not afford to look OK? Because I don't think any of them there. There's a couple of them that I think generally like, like Richard Branson and Mark Cuban. All are able to like, dress like human beings. But then you have the guys like you have like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg who all looked like they were like poured into him like a skin suit. And I I don't know what the difference is. Because there there are clearly some of these guys who are able to at least like, imitate, being like a person. Mark Cuban does a decent impression of a human being, but he knows, like how people are supposed to dress like he is. Basic concept of like human beings do this, he says. Words in an order that you're Lena. Yeah, kind of. And in a way, are we all pretending to be John Cena? Yeah, yeah, I would. I would like Mark Zuckerberg a lot better if he were pretending to be John Cena, but he's pretending to be an emperor with a ****** haircut. I mean, that does answer questions that I had. That is helpful information. Yeah, I don't know what's going on. But yeah, so he's he's just also the name their second daughter, August. So, like, whatever, mark, this is Mark's weird thing. I think he's being honest about it. Yeah, and it it's it makes sense for him to this to have been like a childhood fascination of him. Because one of the things you find when you look into people who knew Mark is that kind of since he was a kid, he has always seen himself as rising to greatness, which is this kind of narcissism that I think is borne from growing up in a growing up. Male, white and upper middle class in uh, a place where mostly affluent people live and then going to a school where they tell you you're gifted. Like a lot of kids wind up with the same sort of delusions of grandeur reality has indulged marks for so for some time. But like one of his childhood friends told that interview with The New Yorker quote, I think Mark has always seen himself as a man of history, someone who is destined to be great. And I mean that in the broadest sense of the term, which is a terrible thing to be, because when you're that kind of person, you will do almost anything to try to make the reality outside your head correspond with the expectations within it. And Mark has done that. So Speaking of history, Jamie, since we just talked about some of that, Mark or Facebook at least has made a bit of history since we last discussed Mark and his creation, uh, there's been new milestones for a for membership and for page engagement that have been hit, which I'm sure you're very excited about, especially with this big election coming up. I cannot wait all sorts of good stuff, but I have some really productive, useful conversation going on as well. It seems like things are very healthy. And Speaking of healthy, I think the thing that I want to talk to, the history that Facebook has been responsible for, that I want to talk about right now is, Umm, is what it's brought to Ethiopia. Have you heard anything about Facebook's recent performance in Ethiopia and what's happened there? I've heard a little bit. I've heard a little bit. I've heard, I mean Facebook in in in any way I I learned most about which I think we talked about last time was Facebook and Myanmar, but the Ethiopic BS stuff. I've, I've got to catch up. Yeah. I don't want to like. Spoil it right away because it's a fun story, but it rhymes with Smethwick cleansing. That was what they were doing over in Myanmar. That's yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because it keeps happening to countries who have Facebook and interesting. Yeah. So Facebook has been popular and a number of African nations for for quite a while now. And in many of these countries, like Ethiopia, the Internet is basically a a synonym for Facebook to millions of people because it's just like the way they interface with the Internet. Like Facebook and the Internet are the same thing. They don't use a browser. They see everything through Facebook, and despite the popularity of Facebook in Ethiopia, the country, and in Africa in general, because it's it's become increasingly popular across the entire continent. But despite its popularity, Facebook only opened its first content Moderation center on the continent in 2019. Which is a problem, because Africa's enormous like it fits a couple in North America's in there. You probably should have had a content center somewhere on the ******* continent, like you should have one in every country you're doing. Business and but they only added 1/2, just just one on the ******* continent in 2019, which is absurd. I mean, not surprising from that company, but like that's. Yeah, yeah. Now they promised to hire 100 people to work there through third party companies and we don't know if they've actually done that. Number one, it's sketchy that that continues to be through third party companies, which is what Facebook does so that they can. Yeah, interesting that they're just continuing this whole third party company thing. Doesn't seem like it's gone very well for them in the past. Yeah. That way if an employee makes a decision that gets people killed, it's not a Facebook employee that made a decision that gets got people killed. And so they don't have to care about it, which is very ethical. And then they can release a really cute statement that they're like, we had no idea and we're just really random person made a mistake. How could we have? Yeah. **** you. Human error. Yeah. You know what doesn't make errors? Jamie's products or services? Products, services. And, you know, our longtime sponsor, Raytheon. You might have heard some news lately, Jamie, about how radios had to let a lot of employees go. Yeah, OK, you know, Sophie, your antipathy towards the Raytheon Corporation is well noted, but I want to ask you to imagine a world without Raytheon. Imagine a world where children in Afghanistan are able to go to bed at night and not live in terror. That clear skies will bring the attack of a predator drone that could wipe out the entire family Amagine school buses in Yemen, not being blown up by missiles fired. By people in control stations somewhere in a desert in Nevada using Raytheon's wonderful technology. Imagine missiles that aren't full of knives. You know, I I don't want to live in that world, which is why I choose to buy Raytheon and why I think you should choose listeners to buy Raytheon. Sorry, I didn't hear anything Raytheon said. I was thinking about Nacho cheese Doritos. You know, if Raytheon made Doritos. They would kill a lot of schoolchildren in Yemen anyway. Here's products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying. Or for a family. And it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. 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With you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. Ah, we're back. Oh my gosh. I don't know about the rest of you, but those products and services, really. I just took a hit of of Raytheon. Yeah, I've been huffing Raytheon so hard that. I. I keep my right hand and a little rag and I just put it in a rag like the paint that I also huff once I'm out of paint and glue Raytheon and huffing paint allies in. That sounds like a reality abrasion. Yeah. Sounds like a really rich person's name. Raytheon roofing paint. Yeah, that's how the rich people huff. So, yeah, Facebook sets up this data center. It's first and only one in Africa. They promised to hire 100 people and we don't know if they even hired 100 people to work. I have to say, is there any confirmation that that? No, no, because they they don't have to be open about any of this. We also don't know which regions of the country any of those folks would have specialized in, which languages they might have spoken. Again, Africa is the size of several N Americas, right? There's an enormous variety of nations and cultures and conflicts like like like I I would say anything less than a couple of 1000 people focusing on content in that continent would seem just just so irresponsible as to be purely ornamental. Like thousands, like a couple of 1000 people probably honestly isn't enough because of how many millions of like, yeah, right. It's too big a responsibility for a few 100 employees to even take 300 contacts. That's absurd. Yeah, yeah, it's it's just unbelievably shoddy worksmanship they had. And yeah, so again, and because there's Facebook doesn't have to be open about anything, we don't even know, like which areas of the country will be represented by the content Moderation Team vice. Reports, though, that Facebook's community standards, like the list of their standards, has not been translated into either of Ethiopia's two main languages, which suggests they don't have anybody in the continent who can functionally monitor what's happening in Ethiopia. The company has no full-time employees in the country. Now, this is a problem because Ethiopia, like many countries, has a number of bad actors in its national political scene and a lot of ethnic conflicts that have been exacerbated by Facebook. One of the bad actors in Ethiopia is a guy named Jawar Mohammed, who is an ethno nationalist and Oromo ethno nationalist from the Oromia region of the country. And the Oromo are like like one of the peoples in in the region or in the country that that we call Ethiopia. Umm and and Jamar has started like a private TV network based on his success in Facebook. He's got like 1.75 million followers on the site. Umm. So he's extremely popular. He's a big content creator who basically got famous as a result of his ability to use and manipulate Facebook. And one of his big things is regularly urging people to do horrible violence to folks who are not Oromo in Ethiopia. Their approach? Yeah, it keeps happening all over the world and Facebook keeps failing at handling it. On October 23rd, 2019, he took to Facebook and fired off a series of posts claiming he was about to be arrested by the police. For some of his political statements, this appears to have been a lie, but it brought huge crowds of his supporters out into the street like massive numbers of people. And they start the horrible violence starts, right? The cops come out and the police wind up killing more than a dozen people and jawar supporters. Wind up committing a bunch of race based sectarian murders and something like 70 folks die by the time this is all over. So, yeah, he yeah. So this guy, like, like, it incites a series of race riots that kill, like, nearly 70 people, which is a problem. You might say, yeah. Single Facebook post. Yeah, that isn't. Yeah. So Facebook at this point, if not before, because they hadn't even thought about it for a single second. Like Mark Zuckerberg had never for a moment in his life considered Ethiopia prior to this. They've got 15 years of this company's existence. Yeah. Good. Good. Why you? It's not a major company. It's one of the places it's like, it's like all of the world outside of the Roman Empire that he assumes was also at peace because he sure as hell not gonna give a **** about their history. Yeah. Ask Mark Zuckerberg for how how long Ethiopia has been at peace. Yeah, I will. I will let. I will let ******* China know that they were completely at peace and had no wars for the 200 years after Octavian came to power. They will be happy to have this information. Yeah. They'll be able to edit their history books. Yeah. So Facebook. You know, after this race riot that kills almost 70 people knew they had a problem in Ethiopia. Wow. Yeah. And in true Facebook fashion, they took no action as a result. Oh, wow. These deaths, they shifted no meaningful resources into the country as ethnic and political strife. They're continued to heighten, fanned by the flames of viral Facebook memes. Now, I'm not going to pretend I have much expertise over what's happening in Ethiopia because, like Facebook executives I know. Very little about the country, which is perhaps why I have not launched a massively influential media product that completely restructures the way a great deal of the nation's communications occur. Because that would be your responsible Jamie. That would be nice, but you would maybe want to hire, let's say, more than 100 people to. I would want to hire a lot of people if I were attempting to change the entire way this country. I don't understand communicates, right? Yeah, that would be the responsible thing to do. But yeah, so as I do understand the conflict, a lot of the ethnic tensions in the country have kind of broken down around the president who is in a Romo and a large number of people, many of whom voted for him, who are a Romo, and who hate the fact that he has not been a giant ***** ** **** to members of other ethnic groups. Like, he hasn't been racist enough for a lot of people, and they're very angry about it. And these folks have gotten very like, use the vast hate machine that is Facebook. To assault the people that they deem at fault for their country's problems. And one of these people, one of the people they assaulted, uh, was a backer of the president named Hachaliah Hun Dessa, who was an Oromo singer who supported and raising up marginalized voices within the Oromo ethnic group. So he seems like he was a pretty decent dude. Hachaliah undesa. So obviously this massive Internet hate mob that is formed in Ethiopia turns its sights to this guy because he's a supporter of the president. Earlier this year they decided he was like at the center of some weird conspiracy. Think of it as like, what happened to Tom Hanks with Q Anon right? Like this famous person becomes the center of an online conspiracy and hundreds of Facebook pages start filling up with misinformation about this guy. And I'm going to quote next from a write up and vice about what happened. Next quote. Handessa was assassinated on June 29th while driving through the capital, Addis Ababa. The man police charged with index's killing told prosecutors that he was working as an assassin for the Oromo Liberation Front, an armed nationalist group linked to numerous violent attacks, and who told the shooter that Aromia would benefit from the death of one of its most famous singers, who handessa's death at age 34 set off a wave of violence in the capital and his home region of Aromia. Hundreds of people were killed, with minorities like Christian M Harris, Christian Oromos and Gurage people suffering the biggest losses. The bloodshed was supercharged by the almost instant and widespread sharing of hate speech and incitement to violence on Facebook, which whipped up people's anger. Mobs destroyed and burned property. They lynched, beheaded, and dismembered their victims. Jesus Christ. So yeah, who could have predicted this after the last race riot that killed huge numbers of people? Not I, Robert, and not Mark Zuckerberg. It is. I mean, it is truly shocking that this this is, I mean, I guess not shocking isn't even the word, but this is all happening within about. What, 18 months of the like a very similar horrific ethnic cleansing being pushed less than that. October of 2019 to June of 2020. Oh well, there you go now. Very, very short span of time this is occurring in. And again, Facebook does basically nothing now, finally, after these race riots that kill hundreds. They they do take some action. Yeah. They sent a couple of executives to Ethiopia on a fact finding mission. And they. Yeah. So they they. Yeah. They went looking for some facts. Looking for some facts for a little magnifying glass. Yeah. And the company issued a statement that it is, quote, aware of the complexities both within and outside the country. All these Facebook apologies for ethnic cleansing. It's just. Yeah. Complexities. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The what we did, what could be described as complex. Yeah, Facebook says it is deeply concerned about the issues flagged by human rights groups. Meanwhile, human rights groups in Ethiopia are less than positive about the what the social network has actually done so far. According to vice quote, activists say Facebook is instead relying on them in a network of grassroots volunteers to flag content and keep the $750 billion company up to speed about what's happening on the ground. They ask you to jump on a call so that you can give them more context, but **** no, I said. I'm never going to do that again, one Ethiopian activist who's been repeatedly asked to speak to. Facebook employees told VICE News the activist. Yeah, like they're they're basically like, hey, we're almost worth a trillion dollars. But can you, people who are under the gun and it individually endangered by our service provide us with free labor to understand how we're endangering you? That would be great right there. Like we forgot to put any protections in, but so could you actually do this on the back end? Because we're getting some rough PR right now. Are you being shot at right now? Yeah, anyway. We're not gonna pay you. There's that. We don't. We just don't have the money. It's been a rough year for us. We just a trillion dollar country. Mark Zuckerberg, who bought $45 million of houses that surrounded his house so he could live in property, can't afford to pay more fact checking teams. We're so sorry. Yeah. So this is horrific. You think Facebook might have learned something after the last ethnic cleansing their product helped to enable, which, if you'll remember from our last episode, was in Myanmar. Yeah, yes. Yeah. There I yeah. I didn't know about the extent of what was going on in Ethiopia, so pretty bad. Pretty bad, Robert. And of course they helped fuel a genocide in the mass resettlement of nearly 1,000,000 people in Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim people. It's shocking how? Beat for beat similar. A lot of the exact same, like missteps and failures. Are and like and what's happening in Ethiopia sounds exactly like what's happening in India, where Facebook ******** like nonsense on Facebook lies spreading virally have been responsible for massive like mobs doing racial violence that's caused hundreds of deaths. It keeps happening and the complete oversight of not even having the the terms and conditions in every language where the service has provided. It's just like, I don't know, my brain is why would you, why would you think for even a second about a country that you're introducing a product into? That will have a massive impact on the the society. Like, why would you, for even a second, consider that and take any actions to responsibly do that? Why? Why would you just country that exists? Just a second. Mark Zuckerberg's frame of reference, it's part of the 200 years of peace he's bringing us. Yes. So yeah, we were talking about Myanmar because we have to actually go back to Myanmar cause some new stuff happened there. So remember, Facebook again fueled a genocide there and and in fact, a UN report on the genocide in Myanmar said that Facebook's failure to deal with the spread of misinformation turned it into a beast complicit in mass human slaughter. The UN called Facebook a beast for its what it contributed to in Myanmar, which is at least I I like it when the UN doesn't pull their punches, because they often do. Yeah, that's a fair appreciate the directness, yeah. So the hubbub around all this forced mark to actually sit down and in an interview with Ezra Klein and engage directly with some of the criticism for the genocide that his company enabled, he admitted he well, he admitted that his network had been used to incite real-world harm. He did. He did. He did. He did admit that. And he also stated quote. This is certainly something that we're paying a lot of attention to. Ohh, it's a real issue and we want them. It's a real issue, Jamie. The genocide is a real issue, and we want to make sure that all of the tools that we're bringing to bear on eliminating hate speech, inciting violence, and basically protecting the integrity of civil discussions that we're doing in places like Myanmar, as well as places like the US that do get a disproportionate amount of attention. Jamie, let's think back to that guy on his porch firing blindly into the neighborhood around you. Say he hits your child in the throat and she bleeds out slowly over the course of about, you know, let's say 5 1/2 minutes as you desperately try to stop the bleeding, but the ambulance doesn't arrive in time. And you, you approach this man who's continuing to fire blindly into the neighborhood and say you just murdered my child. And he says, you know, I'm paying a lot of attention to what happened to your kid. It's a real issue. Serious. Yeah. And I'm going to bring tools to bear on eliminating, you know, some of the problems that might have caused the death once we. Figure out what they are. So that's what Mark said. Yeah, but Mark, you know, to his credit, after using all those weasel words, did did agree that Facebook had been used to incite harm in Myanmar. Just the absolute smug assholery of, like, addressing a genocide you are beyond. It's an issue. Yeah. Seeing there's a lot of negativity surrounding this, you're just like, shut the **** **. Oh my God. Yeah. It's like somebody going to the Germans in, like, 1944 and being like, you know, it seems like this auchwitz thing is is getting real ugly. And they're like, yeah, we agree it's an issue. It's definitely an issue. Yeah, it's issue. So my blood pressure. Yeah. But Mark, did he did admit that, that there was a problem with his service. So there was an issue. I wonder what will happen. If we check back in on the story of Myanmar and Facebook, I bet Facebook has turned a new leaf in this. Ohh Jamie, it turns out there's a Time magazine article on the matter from August of 2020 this year. You know what the title is? Hit it. Facebook wanted to be a force for good in Myanmar. Now it is rejecting a request to help with the genocide investigation. No, I mean, yes, but that's totally explicable. That's great. So the issue seems to be that The Gambia, which I I didn't realize, I think is the proper way you're supposed to say it is The Gambia, not Gambia. So it's kind of the opposite of Ukraine. It seems like that that's what I'm gathering from this article. So the Gambia, which is a W African Nation, is attempting to hold Myanmar accountable for its ethnic cleansing. And they filed an application in a U.S. Federal court seeking information from Facebook that would help them build their case for the International Court of Justice. So they want to take. They they want to take leaders in Myanmar to the International Court of Justice and hold them accountable. And they're they're looking for info from Facebook to help them build their case that basically military and governmental leaders in Myanmar were manipulating Facebook in inauthentic ways in order to drive violence deliberately so. Quote. Specifically, The Gambia is seeking documents and communications from Myanmar military officials, as well as information from hundreds of other pages and accounts that Facebook took down and preserved. Because Facebook, to its credit, when they took down a lot of these things associated with pages that were associated with the violence in Myanmar, they did preserve those pages so that they could be potentially used in an investigation like The Gambia is trying to do. So The Gambia is also seeking documents related to Facebook's internal investigations into the matter, as well as a deposition of a relevant Facebook executive. All of this information. Could help to prove Myanmar's genocidal intent. Back in May, the Gambia filed a similar application in U.S. court against Twitter, and the case was pulled immediately because Twitter pretty much instantly agreed to cooperate. Which is, you know. That's so embarrassing too, that if Twitter is like, no, we would love to do the right thing. Project Jack Dorsey is somebody I have intense antipathy for, and he is also objectively the most responsible social media head. He has. That's such a bleak sentence. When Jack Dorsey has the moral high ground on you, your mic ******. Like, that's just so awful. Like he is. He is the only person who is in that position, a similar position of power to Mike, Mark Zuckerberg, who isn't just like. Like drunkenly driving towards the apocalypse. Like Jack. Jack Dorsey clearly is capable of feeling guilt and thinks genocide is bad. That's all I'll say about Jack Dorsey. But that's what that he is capable of of of caring to some extent. Which is why his company cooperated immediately in an investigation about a genocide. Well, and if you're listening to this episode in the future and you're like, how could that be true? Just just check the date and maybe. He's done something horrible, and yeah, he may have finally completed his robot suit and be carrying out genocide against all of Portugal or something. I don't know what Jack Dorsey's secret desires are. But you know, but yeah, I do know what you do know, Robert. I don't know where I'm what I do know. Yeah, what do you know? Yeah, I know what a lot of things that I think would be fun to do in Minecraft. But I guess we shouldn't. Yep. Prata. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. 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You maybe even heard the rumors, your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research. With you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. We're back. We're back. So earlier this month, Facebook filed its opposition to the Gambia's application that they receive basic information about, you know, to help them prosecute a genocide. Facebook complained that their requests were extraordinarily broad and unduly intrusive or burdensome, and they called upon the US District Court in DC to reject the application. Largely because The Gambia failed to quote, identify accounts with sufficient specificity. Now this is interesting because The Gambia was incredibly specific, and in fact they named 17 officials, 2 military units, and several dozen very specific pages and accounts that they wanted the information for. They really could not have been more specific about what they wanted. Yeah. Facebook also takes issue with the fact that The Gambia is seeking information that dates back to 2012, saying that, like, that's not really relevant. And the Gambia is pointing out that like, well, but the desire of groups of people to commit genocide doesn't just happen overnight. It builds over time. And Facebook is where it built over time. And this is something we have to document both for our court case against the people who committed that genocide and for history's sake. And Facebook is saying that like, well, no acknowledging that. Acknowledging that basically means acknowledging we're currently contributing to what will become genocide in the very near future, and that's going to be bad for us. So now **** like the ******* hubris of Facebook attempting to call the shots of like, well, that's not relevant. It's like, well, you. Your whole thing is you've clearly demonstrated you have no idea what's going on or what the context of this conflict is, but sure. Yeah, all means by all means. So if you actually try to take stock of the scale of the problem of political manipulation on Facebook, you quickly find yourself spiraling into just overwhelmed horror. Because it's not just like the cases that we've kind of talked about so far, where hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people have been murdered. Those are the most spectacular cases, and they're the easiest to be like. Here is the harm, this number of people were killed in race riots that started on Facebook. But it it is contributing to the death of democracies worldwide on a scale that's staggering when you when you start to lay it out. In Azerbaijan and Honduras, corrupt Heads of Government and political parties have been caught operating networks of fake accounts to manipulate public opinion. In India, Ukraine, Bolivia and Ecuador, there have been coordinated campaigns caught operating in violation of the social networks rules to influence elections, one of the reasons we know about. All this is a former Facebook data scientist named Sophie Zang. Sophie wrote a 6600 word memo to her former coworkers after she was let go for desperately blowing the whistle whistle on Facebook's ethically criminal behavior, and BuzzFeed obtained a copy of that memo, and they published a really good article on it just days before I started work on this article. It's actually what kind of made me feel like a new episode on Mark was necessary, and I'm going to quote from that article now. This is Sophie writing. In the three years I've spent at Facebook, I found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry and caused international news on multiple occasions wrote saying. Her LinkedIn profile said she worked as the data scientist for the Facebook site integrity fake engagement team, so that was her job. Now, BuzzFeed didn't publish her letter directly because it contained a lot of personal info, but they included a bullet point list summarizing her allegations. And I'm going to read that now because, again, it's so it's a nightmare quote. It took Facebook's leaders nine months to act on a coordinated campaign that used thousands of inauthentic assets to boost President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras on a massive scale to mislead the Honduran people. Two weeks after Facebook took action against the perpetrators in July, they returned, leading to a game of whack a mole between Zang and the operatives behind the fake accounts, which are still active in Azerbaijan. Zang discovered the ruling political party. Utilized thousands of inauthentic assets to harass the opposition and Moss. Facebook began looking into the issue a year after saying reported. The investigation is still ongoing. Saying and her colleagues removed 10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high profile politicians in Brazil and in the US in the 2018 elections. In February 2019, a NATO researcher informed Facebook that quote, he'd obtained Russian inauthentic activity on a high profile US political figure that we didn't catch Zang. Move the activity dousing the immediate fire, she wrote. Zeng discovered inauthentic activity, a Facebook term for engagement from bot accounts, and coordinated manual accounts in Bolivia and Ecuador, but chose not to prioritize it due to her workload. The amount of power she had as a mid level employee to make decisions about a country's political outcomes took a toll on her health, so she consciously realized she was ignoring. Actions that were shattering the democracies of whole nations because she had bigger fish to fry. And that was a decision she got to make without asking anybody as a mid level employee at Facebook because they cared so little about what was happening in these countries, right? I mean, even the fact that that would be delegated to one person is so absurd that it's unspeakable. Yeah, after becoming aware of coordinated manipulation on the Spanish health Ministry's Facebook page during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zang helped find and remove 672,000 fake accounts. Acting on similar targets globally, including in the US, in India she worked to remove a politically sophisticated network of more than 1000 actors working to influence the local elections taking place in Delhi in February. Facebook never publicly disclosed this network or that it had been taken down. So I want you to remember here. Yeah. What are you are you just trying to cope with all that right now? I'm, I'm looking through this story as well. And it yeah. Four days ago. It's it's unbelievable. I mean, just this should be the number one story in the world and Mark Zuckerberg should be in custody as a result of it. If. No. Yeah. ******* clue. This just happened there. I mean, just, OK, this is and I am not. First off, I understand that Mark Zuckerberg's Jewish. I am not. Exaggerating when I say most of the Nazis individual Nazis tried in Nuremberg were not personally guilty of crimes on this scale. Absolutely. I mean and and the fact that. I just I'm I'm wrapping my head around the fact that it if you know, while she was employed there, if this if this employee got a cold, if this employee like caught a bug. Yeah there would be a body count attached to it like that is just ******* unconscionable and to. Put that on. I just yeah, it's it's unbelievable. Now, remember, is he free, man? Right now we're just getting started, Jamie. So absolutely sick. OK. I want you to remember Zang was just one employee whose time was severely limited. This is just a selection of the things she uncovered. And these, you know, yeah, a mid level employee. Now the scale at which Facebook. Being used by a variety of actors to manipulate and hack global politics is truly unprecedented. The social network feels so little responsibility to deal with this that Zang was essentially alone in her work and her findings were never publicized unless doing so brought some material benefit to Facebook. While attempting to lay out the scale of the problem, Zang noted. Quote, there was so much violating behavior worldwide that it was left to my personal assessment of which cases to further investigate to file tasks. And to escalate for prioritization afterwards. Now, despite the fact that Zang found evidence of vast influence networks actively subverting dozens of democratic elections, the higher ups in Facebook showed basically no interest in this, and she was again left alone to make decisions that would influence the lives and futures of 10s of millions of people, Zang wrote. Quote, with no oversight whatsoever, I was left in a situation where I was trusted with a mince influence in my spare time, a manager on strategic response mused. Myself, that most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with myself as the part time dictator. He meant the statement as a compliment, but it illustrated the immense pressures on me and and how many people were working in this capacity and other regions. Like it's just, yeah well I mean that. The fact is I don't think very many. She was basically the only person dealing with the world outside of the West on this, at this level of responsibility because they cared so little about having anyone. Monitor it and like, the fact that one of her managers just kind of blithely walked by and said, like, casually, oh, you're kind of like the dictator of the entire world outside of the West right now. Neat. And then walks off like, that's the problem. Do you want to go to an oxygen bar later like this? Is just on it's, it's. Struggling to wrap my head around and the the outrageous I am without you know I can't go into too much detail at this, but I've known a lot of Facebook employees and I've worked with a number of them. I've I've been to Facebook facilities, I've spent a lot more time around the people who work at Facebook than a lot of people. And they're very they tend to be very nice people. I like almost everyone I've met who is a Facebook employee, very intelligent, motivated people who care a lot about what they do in the ethics of it. The problem is the. People at the top who refuse to allow this to be hard to, who have the resources to do what they are doing with at least a modicum of responsibility and refuse to do it and actively stymie their employees, who again, are mostly decent people, from acting responsibly. Well, sure, I mean, decent people enact the agendas of indecent people all the time. Like, there's I just, I mean it. It speaks to. We talked about this the entire last time we covered this ******* guy, too. But just like the fact that something so gigantic can exist with such little oversight. It's just like, what body count does that start to matter to anybody? Yeah, now the reason Mark Zuckerberg and his executives felt safe ignoring many of these individual cases of abuse is that they tend to occur in foreign countries that Americans didn't care about. And again, all Mark Zuckerberg. Is a **** about as the West and I think China too. Look, we'll give him credit for that. He cares, clearly cares about what happens in China. He does speak great Chinese like so the Western China and everything outside of it. Might as well be a ******* dial tone to him. We've got about three people on the rest of the planet. Yeah, I'm going to quote from Buzzfeed's write up of Zane's letter again quote it is an open secret within the civic integrity space, which is where she worked in that Facebook short term decisions are largely motivated by PR and the potential for negative decisions. He wrote noting that she was told directly at a 2020 summit that anything published in the New York Times or The Washington Post would obtain elevated priority. It's why I've seen priorities of escalation shoot up when others start threatening to go to the press, and why I was informed by a leader in my organization that my civic work was not impactful under the rationale that if the problems were meaningful, they would have attracted attention, became a press fire, and convinced the company to devote more attention to the space. So unless white journalists write about something Facebook's done that got people killed, it doesn't matter. Don't care. Yeah, I mean, it's. I mean, we did, we did. We did know that. But, I mean, just on on this, but she was told that by someone who was her boss. Yeah. Yeah. That is just I it's a lot of pressure on the post and the New York Times, too. Yeah. OK. So I guess I, I, I hope I speak for everyone when I say I care about this. Yeah. Important. Yeah. I give a **** about Ethiopia. Please stop enabling race riots, mark. So in February of 2019, a NATO strategic communications researcher, like I said, reached out and like warned the company that he he that was the thing about. Like, he'd he'd seen evidence of inauthentic Russian activity backing like a high profile US figure and yeah. Uh. The researcher warned them that he would be briefing Congress with his findings the next day, and this the company cared about. So Zang was sent in to minimize the fallout. She was able to investigate the case, figure out what's going on, and remove the activity immediately, so that by the time this guy went up in front of Congress, they had taken care of the issue. And shortly thereafter, the same researcher tried another experiment where he like made a report to them but didn't include a threat and nothing happened for six months. So eventually he sent a report to the press and it. Kindly caused PR fire, but he just like, like just kind of to prove that, like, yeah, they don't care unless there's a chance that they will get publicly yelled at. The actual harm means nothing to them any. And Even so when someone publicly yells at them, you get that ******* speech again of like, you realize that there is a problem. There is a problem. So Zane came to feel that the main focus of her job, rather than actually combating this behavior and reducing harm, was to help the company deal with what she called large scale problems. And this doesn't mean a. More serious problem. It means a problem that affects enough people that they have to care about it. So we're actually not talking about genocides here. We're talking about spam networks, because spam networks impact a lot of people, and so they're a larger priority than disinformation going viral and leading to race riots. Spam is a big problem, so it outweighs tiny problems like, say, election fraud by the President of Honduras. Zane came to feel that the main focus of her job, rather than combating this behavior, reducing harm, was to help the company deal with these problems. And yeah, this meant that spam networks were a bigger issue than than things that caused death. Yeah, it's it's. So let's let's talk. Let's zoom in on Honduras on the thing that is less of a problem than spam networks. So don't say this lightly. This is the most upset I've ever been during this show. It's horrible. Saying finds evidence that the president of Honduras and his party are using multiple fake accounts to boost engagement and spread content that is benefiting them in the lead up to a presidential election. And Zang was able to make a connection to the Honduran leader because an administrator for the president's Facebook page had been was caught. She caught him basically running hundreds of fake assets, not even trying to hide it, and she reported all of these thousands of fake accounts and a clear attempt to manipulate a national election to Facebook. That intelligence and policy review teams, both of which took months to give any sort of response. And yeah, it it. So it took almost a year to take down this operation, which Facebook announced in July of 2019. And taking it down didn't actually do anything because the operation got set back up again, which Facebook never disclosed and they didn't take it down again. So it took about two weeks. Yeah. And it's still going on right now. And this President who created this massive, you know, or who had this massive fraudulent network set up to help him regain election. One reelection under circumstances, international monitors and basically everyone describes as fraudulent. Facebook felt comfortable letting this slide after their first sweep because, in the grand scheme of things, Honduras is a small country. As Zang wrote, the civic aspect was discounted because of its small volume. Its disproportionate impact ignored. The civic aspect, of course, being that a president with dictatorial ambitions fraudulently won an election in part due to what? He was able to do on Facebook so. Yeah, that it's. It's frustrating the the civic aspect is like the term Facebook uses for entire nations democracies, which are less of a priority to them than like a spam network. And this is something Zang came to understand. She she got a pretty good eye for how Mark and her other bosses thought during her time doing this job. And how long was she in this position? Sorry, years. Three years? OK, yeah. So face she figured out overtime kind of how to manipulate Mark and other executives in the company. In order to get them to act on certain things they would otherwise ignore, Facebook uses implements. Yeah, I mean, mainly making them think that there might be some sort of like, outcry against them. Facebook uses an internal company messaging app for employee communications, and since reporting her concerns about potential genocides didn't seem to matter, Zang started skipping the steps to officially report problems and just posting openly to her coworkers about specific things she was finding because if she could get her colleagues. Outraged and talking, she could force management to care. Quote in the office I realized that my viewpoints weren't respected unless I acted like an arrogant *******. So Zang asked Facebook to do more in terms of finding and stopping malicious activity related to elections and political activity. And she says that she was turned down because human resources are limited. She was then ordered to stop focusing on civic work. I was told that Facebook would no longer have further need for my services if I refused. OK, OK, so stop talking about the genocide. Or fire you, or you don't have health insurance. Got it. Another terrifying case she ran into was Azerbaijan. Now, in that country, Zang discovered another vast network of inauthentic accounts being used by the President and his party to spread propaganda and influence an election. The whole operation is very similar to the one run by Russia's Internet research agency. It involved, quote, dedicated employees who work 9:00 to 6:00, Monday through Friday work to create millions of comments targeting members of the opposition and reporters. Critical to the president's Facebook never publicized what saying found there, noted the take any action against it. Zang wrote that they didn't care enough to stop it because it's like it's ******* Azerbaijan. Do you even know where his year by Jan is? No. **** him. **** their democracy. BuzzFeed reached out to some peace. Yeah, 200 years of peace. That's what we're getting. BuzzFeed actually reached out to some journalists in Azerbaijan about their experiences with this network and about Facebook, and those journalists pointed out that in addition to not stopping this inauthentic. Activity Network, uh, Facebook sometimes removed the pages of Humans Rights Act human rights activists due to reports from trolls and ignored journalists begging them that, like, this is a real person doing important work, please restore their account because, like, why would they care right now? None of this is unique to Azerbaijan, and in fact, all of it happens to some extent in the United States too. Facebook just feels more pressure to act here. The difference with the United States, yeah, is again, that they have to pretend that they care here now, as soon as they operate. Somewhere off the beaten path, from an American perspective, anything goes uh. In Bolivia, for example, Zang found inauthentic activity supporting an opposite the opposition presidential candidate. In 2019. She chose not to focus on it because she just had so many other genocides to deal with, and a month later, a coup racked the nation, leading to widespread protests in dozens of deaths. My great she made the same call in Ecuador after a 2017 election that many claim was fraudulent prior to the vote, saying found massive, inauthentic activity supporting the ruling party who later won the election under suspicious circumstances. There were horrifying consequences to this. Three years later, the coronavirus hit and this fraudulent government was in charge. They did not do a good job of being in charge, and I'm going to quote now from a New York Times article on Ethan on Ecuador's response to the coronavirus quote. With bodies abandoned on sidewalks, slumped in wheelchairs, packed into cardboard coffins and stacked by the hundreds and morgues, it is clear that Ecuador has been devastated by the coronavirus. But the epidemic is even worse than many people in the country recognize. The death toll in Ecuador during the outbreak was 15 times higher than the official number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the government, according to an analysis of mortality data by the New York Times. The numbers suggest that the South American country is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the world, thanks in large part. To the incompetent government that was fraudulently elected, thanks and a significant part to the Facebook campaign, the illegal and fraudulent Facebook campaign it ran that Facebook and didn't have time to care about where one mid level employee was threatened with having their livelihood removed if she didn't. Yeah, shut the hell up about it. I am certain Mark Zuckerberg lost no sleep over Ecuador or Bolivia or any of these other places, but Sophie Zang definitely did and probably will for the rest of her. Life as she wrote in that letter, I have made countless decisions in this vein, from Iraq to Indonesia, from Italy to El Salvador. Individually, the impact was likely small in each case, but the world is a vast place. Although I made the best decision I could based on the knowledge available at the time, ultimately I was the one who made the decision not to push more or prioritize further in each case, and I know that I have blood on my hands by now. I mean she's not wrong, but that's just yeah she's doing. Before she was fired, Facebook offered Sophie $64,000 in severance if she would agree to sign a non disparagement clause which would state that she basically couldn't talk at all about her work. Which is she just yeah, putting a price on the the the lives of people like it's just yeah and not a high one. She turned down the money. Clearly. I mean, that's so that should be able to sleep at night in the future. Yeah, yeah, I mean. At what I mean, I getting into the ethics of that is just a ******* disaster. She I mean, she definitely should not be sleeping well. And then on the other hand, if she was not the one pulling the levers on some, on something like that, they would have found someone else to do it, and probably someone worse at it who cared less like I I don't. Less of a concern. I actually don't attribute much moral blame to her other than maybe not blowing the whistle earlier just because, like, when you're in that position, there's a strong case to be made that, like I if I if I'm here, I can at least do something. And if I leave, even less will be done. Yes, which seems verifiably true. And yes, in case of Facebook, yeah, yeah. Anyway, Jamie, that's part one. Awesome. Well, I'm like, what could pop? What could I don't? Well, I guess I'll find out. Yeah, well, this has been truly horrible. Anything you wanna plug? Yeah, what do you wanna what do you wanna sell today, Jamie? Absolutely ******* not. Well, OK. Wait, does this come out next week? When does this come out? Yeah, this is next week. We have no backlog anymore because I decided to spend 60 or 70 nights out rioting just, well, you know, things come up, things come up. To put it like Mark Zuckerberg would. Things come up. There was an issue. There was an issue. And we're actually keeping a really close eye on it. That's you right now. That I yeah, you can. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you want the Bechdel cast. My podcast is doing a fundraiser for a candidate named Fatima Iqbal Zubair. Yeah, well, she's the best. She's running in district 64 in California, so we're doing a fundraiser for her. We're reading the entire script is twilight this Friday? So if you donate to her at the I purchased all of my Edward Cullen cosplay. This morning, extremely tall and incredibly toxic. These are traits that we share and so I am playing Edward Cullen. So yeah, I would just say go to that, donate to Fatima's campaign and **** Forky baby. Yeah, alright, well yeah. On that note, I don't know who 4P is, but but. Episodes gone. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. 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