One of the short, but very interesting panels, was a discussion held by Matthew Bishop, the New York Bureau Chief for The Economist, between Randi Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes.
Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark Zuckerberg, is in charge of marketing at Facebook. Zuckerberg was sitting next to Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, who was also one of the leaders of the Barack Obama online campaign in 2007-2008. Since, Hughes has started a new platform called “Jumo.”
During the 25-minute session, the panel discussed different subjects, including the recent incident of attacks on Facebook by hackers from Tunisia.
Zuckerberg emphasised that Facebook is a neutral platform. The first philanthropic “Cause” that Facebook ever initiated was about missing children in the US. Now, it is possible for Facebook members to receive a notification in the “Newsfeed,” if a child is missing in their state.
The next big topic during this session covered how social media has been used by the Obama administration since the election. “Social media is a component of how people live“ (Hughes). Social media improves communication between politicians and the public, although it‘s not a “magic pill,” which can solve all problems of the administration. In comparison to the campaign in 07/08, people are not expressing enough disastisfaction with the current administration to spark a totally new movement.
After this short talk on campaigns and social media usage Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is now working with Stanford University to analyse “friending data.“ This means they are looking at how many friendships are made between people who live in different countries which are fighting with each other, such as Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan and between users from Greece and Turkey. Facebook is not looking for world peace, but one can see how the population is communicating between “enemies.“
The last topic was the relationship between Facebook and different goverments. Does Facebook share user-data with Governments? No! As Zuckerberg said there was never a situation in which data was given to any Government. An interesting country was Iran. During the big crises in Iran many people were posting status-updates, photos etc. Facebook published all posts unfiltered, but they were not storing any of the data, so they would not even have data to give the Iranian regime and people couldn‘t get threats and get murdered, because of publishing a status update on Facebook.
All in all, a really interesting discussion, however unfortunate that there was only such a short time for this talk and questions from the audience.