Last week’s theme was Russia’s success subverting our democracy.

But before that, I posted a column that read in full (was I running to catch the last trayful of shrimp?):

Carole Cadwalladr – Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy.  Don’t miss this one.

Mike Martin: “[In light of that post], I thought you’d be interested in this: My TED Talk: How I took on the tech titans in their lair.”

☞ Indeed!  Not only does Ms. Cadwalladr offer a sense of what it’s like to give a TED talk, she gives you a sense of what it was like to give this one.  To call out people like Google’s Sergey Brin (who was in the audience) and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (who spoke the next day) and Mark Zuckerberg (whose Facebook is one of TED’s sponsors).

. . . I did tell them that they had facilitated multiple crimes in the EU referendum. That as things stood, I didn’t think it was possible to have free and fair elections ever again. That liberal democracy was broken. And they had broke it.

It was only later that I began to realise quite what TED had done: how, in this setting, with this crowd, it had committed the equivalent of inviting the fox into the henhouse. And I was the fox. Or as one attendee put it: “You came into their temple,” he said. “And shat on their altar.”

I did. Not least, I discovered, because I named them. Because nobody had told me not to. And so I called them out, in a room that included their peers, mentors, employees, friends and investors. . . .

I use Facebook all the time.  As a user, I’m a fan.  And Google?  I would be lost without it.  I expect someday to have it implanted in my brain (finally to be a know-it-all).

What Carole Cadwalladr’s TED talk made stark was the downside to all of this . . . and how far short the founders are falling in making it right.

Read her piece!



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