As a Silicon Valley investor of 35 years and an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg – Interactive Keynote Roger McNamee found himself in a unique position to see the damage that Facebook was doing to our society and set out to try to stop it. His new book, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, is part of his solution. As a long time ally of the company, he’s set on making the general public aware of the actual practices happening inside the company. McNamee sat down with Nicholas Thompson, Editor-in-Chief of WIRED, to engage in a lively comparison between two people who have studied the company deeply for years.
“Because there was no investment opportunity, I was there because I wanted to meet the young guy who figured this thing out … I was convinced Facebook was the next big thing.” – Roger McNamee
The discussion started briefly outlining Facebook’s past before jumping to the present day, to lay the groundwork for how a company that was set up to make the world more open and connected is now dealing with criticism that it has undermined American democracy, created social anomie, and abetted genocide.
McNamee was very clear throughout the session that he has always held profound respect for the individuals behind the brand. He continuously praised the genius and innovation required to start a business that takes over so completely as Facebook has done, but he becomes critical when considering what said individuals have done with their power and control over users personal data without telling them.
“You’re in a trust business. The thing you can’t do is hide behind a law that says you’re a platform, not a media company. In a trust business, once people lose trust, you’re screwed.”
Watch the entire Keynote and videos from other SXSW 2019 sessions on our YouTube channel.
Check out SXSW 2019 Photo Galleries from March 8-17 including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more.
Photo by Nicola Gell/Getty Images for SXSW