Transparency, Tolerance and Facebook – Open letter to Mark Zuckerberg


Next week I will attend Techcrunch Disrupt SF where Mark Zuckerberg will have a fireside talk and I am really excited.

I am a huge fan of Mark Zuckerberg. I read the Facebook Connect, the article about him in Time, watched several of his talks (including the one he made at Y Combinator) and read his IPO letter. I also met the first Chinese employee at Facebook,????????Harry??(weibo link) and one of my questions was "how was it to work with Mark" and he said "He is for sure very driven and passionate. A bit hard to follow. He is an idealist." And I like that, we need more people like this in the world and in position of influence.

So no need to say I have very deep faith in him and his values. Even though most people are very critical, most people -including some of my best friends- only see what media show of him, someone who make a lot of money though having access to your private info. But this is just a side effect of what facebook is.

What facebook is?
I guess it is different thing for different people: a tool to manage valuable contacts, a tool to share picture, a dating facilitator, a directory of any person you ever met….

For me Facebook is a tool to promote Tolerance.

How? Well, facebook is about transparency, making information about yourself accessible to the public or to a limited number of people. Information about who you are, what you like, who are your friends, what you do, what are you thinking of right now, what are you reading, where you have been, what have you seen…
Particularly with Timeline, it is an easy way for people to access your life.

Why is transparency a good thing?
Well like anything in life, there is a risk, people use the information you make available against you. Same risk than when you go out of your house, someone can pass by and kidnap you.
I believe in the good in people. If some people may try to make you harm, more people will be there to defend/protect you.

So it is good to be transparent about your life because it is how you educate people about tolerance. People who have an emotional connection with you, if they know you smoke pot or have a super high number of sexual partners, or you are gay, you are part of an extremist movement…anything that could be seen as offensive/unacceptable by anyone. If they know you, you are ne of their friends/family/colleagues and you are one of??them, the others…??then maybe they will think twice before judging what they were judging as inacceptable.

This is how gay rights progressed in the 70s in the US (yes I watched the movie Milk), simply by gays getting out of the closet and taking a chance in letting people around them being tolerant.
You can not blame someone to be intolerant if you didnt even gave them a chance to learn to accept your difference.

Difference is scary, ok? It is taking a risk. A risk to not understand or worse a risk to realize you have been wrong this whole time. Who like to be wrong? Not me, I hate it. But when you encounter difference you have to ask yourself, is this different way to live better or worse then mine? And you can only answer this question for yourself. I think this way is better for me, but probably for other people another way is better.

I am a big advocate that people know better what is good for them. They know better than anyone else.
Now they might miss the information. But in that case we just need to give them the information, teach them to be critical and let them choose for themselves. I dont think we should ever take decision for others (as long as they are responsible for themselves -this need to be defined, for instance I think under 16 you dont have enough life experience to be responsible for yourself).

Also tolerance is not to be taught only toward what we call "minorities": gay, woman, ethnies… We need to learn to be tolerance in 360 degrees, toward everyyone who is different from us:
– introvert / extrovert
– young / old
– men / women
– different cultures
– different social background
– different values

This is a topic I could talk about for hours, and I always love to get others opinions.

But to sum up:

= more information about people around you??
= possibility for you to see the difference between you and these people who know/like??
= learn to be tolerant??
= create a better world.

Someday I hope to discuss with Mark about these issues. I dont have a solution, neither do I have a way to make things better, but facebook help for sure and I am sure he has much more ideas. I would love to help execute them.

About Carole (code name 烤肉)

I work in tech since 2008, moved from Reunion island to Paris, Beijing, San Francisco and ended up in Berlin in 2014.
This entry was posted in Being an entrepreneur, Being an event organizer, Tech, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

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