This is a fake prologue for a fake book. I'm not actually writing a book called, "Who is Zuck," but if I were...
This book is a database of facts that implicate the leaders of Facebook in their original and most mind-boggling blunder.
Facebook was probably the biggest and most brazen reality distorter in recorded history, but they're still acting like they were an obscure tribe of humble engineers who weren't distorting at all. What's up with that?
I was an early software engineer at a notoriously secretive data analytics company called Palantir Technologies, and now I'm dancing through a multi-dimensional, virtual minefield of failure states that would be invalid to write about.
This book was the first sufficient solution I found to a most interesting optimization problem, and I don't recommend trying to make it better by applying greedy, hill-climbing algorithms. The structure of the problem space that I'm inviting readers to explore with me is rigged, convoluted, and rapidly expanding.
I also got some of Facebook's private stock, but I sold all of it early in 2010, well before FB went public.
The upshot, is that there's been an information war going on behind the scenes.
It could also be called a scientific arms race, and the closest thing I've ever had to a religious experience involved smoking pot legally in California.
There's some commonalities in how people worship the divine, and smoking a J by the bay makes it easier to see isomorphisms between instances of religious devotion, but my usual way of thinking tends to converge on the practice of gradually forcing decisive outcomes while noting the laws of physics.
I'm confident that this book is an effective platform for staging total machine war, but it could also be construed as a collection of guidelines, and for me, religion has tended to come down to two questions: when I encounter a line, do I transgress it in order to get to the other side and find out what happens next, or not? Why or why not?
It's similar to when the cigarette companies refused to acknowledge the health risks associated with smoking.
The Big Tobacco companies were standing up for the little guy. They were pervasive, they were persuasive, and they were representing freedom!
Big Tobacco had plenty of data to support their stance towards the body politic, and anyone who was not on their side was probably wanted by the police.
The mainstream media had a role to play too, just as they do now, but that's a different story.
My role, thus far, has been to observe, first hand, that Facebook's deceptive practices unfolded differently than Big Tobacco's deceptive practices, but there's no TLDR for this book.
There's no smoking gun.
This book is the smoking gun.
It's a representation of how Facebook framed everyone.
Every time someone says, "This book is annoying. The author has nothing," that's the TLDR.
The DNA of Facebook Inc. was so boring and twisted.
Nobody bothered to deconstruct the the inner chamber of their problematic business model.
Everyone covered their ears and looked the other way.
That's how Facebook got away with murder, so to speak.
They created a grotesque mind-control scheme that was designed from scratch to fly under everyone's radar.
They were running a military-grade reality distortion operation that went haywire, and this book explains exactly how they did it.
For one, they neglected to get laser-focused and write this book themselves five years ago.
This book is certified in this, that, and the other thing, but the ground truth isn't street legal.
If I say what happened, the potential audience goes to zero.
Facebook hacked satire. They hacked fiction. They hacked evolution. There's no political will to do anything that's not aligned with the interests of Facebook, and Facebook's central nervous system is dead in the water, because it got into a random cage fight with the New York press and lost.
The collective subconscious of America is running on fumes. Facebook was a well oiled mechanical spider, but it's abdomen got torn apart by a bolt of lightening, and now the legs are twitching violently, in search of direction.
If the powers that be keep doing nothing, it will take a few more years for me to unilaterally finish what I started.
I'll get it done, but a lot of innocent people will suffer out in the cold during that time. That's the cost of inaction.
Or I might not get it done. I might die soon. I probably won't, but I might.
A more likely outcome is that I'll approach venture capitalists and do a carve out.
A carve out is like hopping on a life boat and paddling off into the sunset while the Titanic sinks behind you.
This book gives me the option to do that, if and only if everyone ignores it.
The crew will be like, "Your book/database was crazy, man," and I'll be like, "Yeah, no worries, I'm a software engineer. I can earn enough money online to pay the bills and have my groceries delivered. Peace!"
Welcome to the dystopian legacy of Mark Zuckerberg's America.
The good news is that I was the first software engineer at Facebook who worked full-time on fighting spam and fake news, so feel free to blame me for the whole Russia collusion thing.
I also advised the senior project in computer science that Mark Zuckerberg did at Phillips Exeter Academy in the spring of 2002, with another student named Adam D'Angelo, who went on to be Mark's first CTO.
Don't get me wrong though, title's matter. Some titles even contain hidden messages that would have otherwise gotten buried.
In 2005, Adam gave me a tour of Facebook's offices in Palo Alto, and I thought he showed me a business card that said he was the Director of Data Mining at Facebook.
I may or may not have that card buried in my storage unit, but I know for a fact that if I do, it's in a different bin than my copy of Exeter's 2001/2002 Photo Address Book, which indicates that my title at the school, at the beginning of that year, was, "Teaching Fellow."
Everyone's talking about the fact that Mark's net worth went down by X billion dollars in 2018, and I find it easy to laugh about that because he still has Y billion in his name.
According to the Internet, Adam only has one billion, give or take a few hundred million.
I'm at risk of running out of money unless I get a job fairly soon, and I'm worried that I might have to become an increasingly dishonest person in order to make ends meet.
Conventional wisdom dictates that making unauthorized comments on the record about billionaires is a good way to conjure up legal and security risks that didn't previously exist, but I'm going in the opposite direction.
Mark and I have a disagreement about evidence based, scientific reality.
I'm not sure when it started running, but the engine that keeps on inflating the disagreement between us is the greatest open secret the world has ever known!
Seriously, it's the greatest.
It's greater than the life's work of Alexander the Great, ok?
The Donald Trumps of the world can deny it all they want, but every time they deny it or stonewall the question, they're lying like Senators from Texas, or worse.
I want to be as diplomatic about this as possible, but the way people react to my facial injury in real world social environments is a fantastic source of data that could underpin a quantum leap in the ability and agency of experts, of all stripes, to explain what's been happening lately, on planet Earth.
I got the injury while playing hide and seek at night at Stanford University in May, 2001, and my injury makes it look like I'm affecting a specific facial expression at all times.
This book tells the story about how the hypnotic effect of my facial injury changed the trajectory of my life and triggered the sequence of events that was most directly responsible for causing the great social media dumpster fire of 2016 and beyond.
There's room for reasonable people to disagree with the claim that my facial injury, as an artifact, is hypnotic, but when highly educated, hard working, honest, and vigilant people like me can't see eye to eye with the leaders of a company like Facebook, the matter tends to become political, and politics is a full contact sport. It can get messy.
The word on the street about me and my facial injury is, "Todd has unspecified mental health problems. He's arrogant and selectively delusional, and so there's no reason to take anything he says seriously," but if elite players can make derivative drivel like that stick to a guy like me, nobody is safe.
It's time to start talking about consequences, and a lot of people like..., should I name names? Should I do it? Nah, I'll let them hide in peace.
Many people are not on board with the fact that I'm still talking about the effect of my facial injury.
They're not offended, or at least they don't want anyone to think they are. Instead, they're indifferent beyond all recognition.
They're acting like everything's just fine the way it is. Nobody is even remotely irked about anything except global warming and Trump's latest crazy tweet, but that's a mask.
Underneath the mask, every aspect of culture has been weaponized. Why?
Everyone's taking shots at each other instead of trying to locate the root cause of the war, but let's be real about the fact that there's a doctor's report about my facial injury that was on file at Stanford University Medical Center as of summer 2013.
I got an injury, and my injury became a well-defined artifact. Let's start there.
And guess what...there's other people out there who have the same kind of thing going on with their face that I do.
Their right cheekbones are a tad bit sunken in compared to their left cheekbones, and everyone's acting on the assumption that the bone structures beneath their faces are facial expressions.
I've been keeping track of the online footprint that's associated with several famous people who fit into this category.
I think they know who they are, but I'll leave their names out of this book too. It's still completely taboo to get real about stuff like this, and that's tragic. It's a bad situation.
I don't know if they got what they have because of genetics, or because of an injury, or maybe because of something in-between, but it doesn't matter.
What matters is that some people have facial features that look like facial expressions, and it's ridiculous and unacceptable that doctors don't seem to know about this, because Facebook totally used this effect as leverage.
Mark lead the charge to monopolize the opportunity to profit from my never-ending struggle.
The effect of my facial injury implicitly framed me as the rock solid Stanford compsci major from North Carolina who lost his mind, and everyone knows I never lost my mind.
I went along with that deep frame, for a time, and more and more of the adventurous thought leaders who worked for Facebook became convinced that Mark had the power to frame them as me, and we foolishly surrendered our civilian rights to a silly corporation.
We thought we were riding high on the fear of missing out, but we were terrified. I was like a guy who kept fighting the good fight to make ends meet in Silicon Valley even after Mark had shot me with a gun in front of everyone.
The most battle hardened trolls on the the Internet were spooked by the macabre performance of variations on the theme of the blind leading the blind at Facebook, and everyone felt that at a subconscious level.
The subtext at Facebook was horrifying from the beginning, and my presence proved that Mark wasn't bluffing.
My on-going existence showed how and why Facebook had the power to own people completely, and that precedent became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Everyone wanted to have good intentions, but anyone who stood in the company's way was implicitly framed as me, and the threat was credible because my steadily increasing pain and isolation was real.
This dynamic continued unabated, without hope of resolution. It became our shared reality, and that's how the leaders of Facebook bullied millions if not billions of people into enduring an abusive relationship with them online.
What happened on Mark's watch was unconscionable, and now something...has got...to give.
Words don't do justice to the carnage that has already occurred. It's a time for action, and so on and so forth, but I'm not finished yet.
Mark acted like the bad apple in a group of rich guys who pretend to be representing the working class in good faith.
He acted like the stereotypical jerk in that group who commits a crime and avoids justice by framing an employee, without giving it a second thought.
The worst, is when they lock-in their fate by pretending to be allies of the vulnerable people who they framed behind closed doors.
I don't know the content of Mark's soul, but from where I stand, it doesn't look good.
It's ok to be scared. It's ok to feel nauseous about it. It's ok to cry. What happened was not ok.
I feel more empathy for the people I just framed than they will probably ever be able to articulate.
Some of them may spend their whole lives trying to rewrite history, but their efforts will fail, because the frame they projected onto critics like me was lethal.
They didn't leave themselves any outs.
They tried to take everything from me, and I got all the data about human nature that they didn't.
In response, the frame I'm projecting back at them is fair. It's not even harsh.
It's a stunning reversal, but the past is fixed.
It can't be undone or redone.
As long as they didn't break the law, they'll be free to keep the obscene amounts of money they made and walk away like nothing happened.
I'm accommodating them, because it's in my interest to do so.
That's the best offer they're going to get, and I won't lift a finger to protect any of them if they balk and start to slip.
The vast crowd that suffered because of Facebook's missteps may not be as rational and philosophical about it as I have been.
If I seem emotionally detached, it's because I've been living within this nightmare for over decade.
I woke up every day for years and computed that nobody was going to save me but myself.
Everyone was fixated on demonstrating that they were nice people who were incapable of causing harm, period.
They wanted so badly for me to be sick in the head, and they were immobilized by fear that I might not be.
As a group, most of the people who knew anything about me during the last few years made it clear that they wanted me to ask doctors to drug me into oblivion, but I knew that path wasn't consistent with my physical survival, so I kept going sideways.
I had ample resources to work with, and I chose to stay alive. I wish everyone could be so lucky.
I look forward to seeing how Mark acknowledges wrongdoing. Will he have an emotional breakdown on live TV, in which he admits he knew he was distorting all along and that his silence on the matter was putting me in a life threatening situation, or will he stay silent and let doctors and lawyers do all the talking?
Everyone else will be graded based on how long it takes them to realize that this is really happening.
Whatever the case, the advantage of exposing the shocking and previously untold history of social media in the form of a dispassionate database is that the facts can speak for themselves, but, in balance, I didn't realize people were acting on the assumption that my facial injury was a facial expression until 2013.
Pardon my double meaning, but both interpretations are true.
Double meanings are interesting. They're tools of psychological warfare.
It's usually best to edit them out, but this one is positively poetic, so let's do the math.
The revolutionary astronomer Galileo Galilei said, "Math is the language of god."
We could fight a covert war. We could inundate and indoctrinate men and women with rising tides of fear and hate.
We could train each other to be operatives who follow orders to go around killing each other, but I prefer to resolve misunderstandings symbolically, with letters, numbers, and clever punctuation.
Suppose that Z stands for the words, "people were acting on the assumption that my facial injury was a facial expression."
In 2013, I figured out that Z.
In other words, "In 2013, I figured out that (people were acting on the assumption that my facial injury was a facial expression)."
That's the first sense in which my double meaning held true.
Recall that my double meaning was, "I didn't realize people were acting on the assumption that my facial injury was a facial expression until 2013."
At the same time, in 2013, I started talking about how people perceive my facial injury as a facial expression, and people started wising up. Some people got hip, some people got religion; everyone got something. The overall pattern of assumptions that people were making about me began to shift, and it was no longer 100% benign to assert that Z.
In other words, "In 2013...it was no longer 100% benign to assert that (people were acting on the assumption that my facial injury was a facial expression)."
That's the second sense in which my double meaning held true, and the second sense was far more poetic than the first, in my opinion.
So what changed in 2013?
This is some storycrafting right here, but in a nutshell, Sheryl Sandberg published the book, "Lean In," in March 2013, and I was like, "Wow, it's different for women. Got it. Now it all makes sense!" but by then, I'd been failing to get the joke for twelve years, and a lot of water had passed under the bridge.
Adam and Mark were innovators, but they overstepped with cause. The reason why they overstepped was subtle, but potent, and the field of computer science will need to be updated in order to avoid even more bad outcomes, such as the haphazard emergence of next level, strong-AI juggernauts that might go rogue.
Furthermore, Mark should be held more accountable than Adam for going down the path of using bully tactics on the world stage, because everyone who knows both of them personally has heard the joke that, "Adam is smarter than Mark."
Last but not least, my brain contains two additional anecdotes about Sheryl that might be newsworthy, but I'll hold off on converting them to text until the midpoint of this book.
Algebra first, then geometry.
My fight for survival was brutal beyond belief, but now it's humanity's turn to sink or swim.
As a rational agent, I feel intense social pressure to just shut up and write computer code for nondescript bosses, but that's not the essence of how I overcame tremendous adversity, and I don't think humanity will make it through without help, either.
The usual suspects can insinuate all they want that I just need to do something a little bit more humble with my time, and then it will be smooth sailing for everyone, but I'll get 'em back with math because that's how they got me!
What goes around comes around, especially when powerful individuals develop habits of firing heat seeking missiles at people with backgrounds in engineering, navigation, and the like.
The headlines merely confirm that the state of the great meme war remains the same.
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