Facebook exec erroneously cites The Lord of the Rings when comparing the social network to the One Ring - 2020-01-07
Facebook executive Andrew "Boz" Bosworth published a memo that looks ahead to the 2020 election. In it, he discussed how Facebook's marketing tools were used by the Trump campaign to win the 2016 election and how Facebook shouldn't take action to prevent Trump from using the same strategy to win again, via The New York Times.
As part of his argument, Boz makes the comparison by citing none other than J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings to explain his decision. Facebook, Boz argues, is akin to Sauron's One Ring, and wielding its power — even with noble intent — would only lead to ruin.
As a committed liberal I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result. So what stays my hand? I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment. Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her. As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.