That’s how one of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s early mentors, venture capitalist Roger McNamee, describes the tech giant in his new book “Zucked”—which details his time advising the company’s co-founder in its early years and the many scandals that have emerged as of late.
Facebook’s beginnings, which were characterized more by pictures of pets and posts from your actual friends as opposed to divisive Russia-generated content and fake news, were more fun—according to McNamee, who appeared Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“They went to this really invasive surveillance. They went to this idea of manipulative technologies and the result is that now we are the fuel,” McNamee, the founding partner of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, told Carlson.
McNamee, who still owns stock in the 15-year-old company, said that Facebook’s rank and file workers are good people, but in his book specifically calls out Zuckerberg and his second-in-command, COO Sheryl Sandberg, for their tactics of denial and deflection over the last two years as the social network’s woes continued to mount.
“The reality is they have completely lost perspective. And, in their success, they have accumulated political power that is unchecked and there is really no accountability for what they do,” McNamee said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Zuckerberg presented a much more rose-colored view of the company’s history and broader impact in a recent post on Facebook — pointing to the social network’s massive base of small businesses and the worthiness of giving everyone a voice.
“But if the last 15 years were about people building these new networks and starting to see their impact, then the next 15 years will be about people using their power to remake society in ways that have the potential to be profoundly positive for decades to come,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Despite the concerns raised by McNamee and others, Facebook announced last month that its quarterly profit hit a record and that user growth continued in most markets. The company has said that it takes criticism seriously, and points to “fundamental changes” in how it operates.
McNamee said he hopes Facebook’s 2.2 billion users begin to question the tech platform’s dubious practices and force it to change for the better.
“It’s time for us to step back as people and recognize that this is not a right or left issue. This is a right or wrong issue,” McNamee said. “We the users have power. We have the power to change the marketplace and make our politicians step in.”
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