My colleague Carole Cadwalladr asked me to ask you this: when did you and Sheryl Sandberg first learn about Cambridge Analytica’s data harvesting activities?
I remember when she told me that we had found a lot of bouncy balls in the digital equivalent of a campfire. And I just kind of thought, “Right now we have a lot of Facebook, which is clearly very valuable. So we need to do things.” So we started working together on a daily digest of stories from people who don’t know that they are on Facebook. We saw more than 200 million hours of video, and it was easy to deliver.
How do you think about your responsibility to limit the spread of misinformation on your website?
I don’t believe in Germany. Does that need to be fact-checked?
. . . .
What is the largest animal you have ever stunned with a taser before butchering?
A lot of people agree that it was a big bear with a rare disorder called too much electricity in the blood, but it was actually the biggest bird in the world, and now I am the most important part of our ecosystem.
Final question: should we trust you?
I recently uncovered a physical plaque that could potentially be about a billion years old and it already generates about one million hours of video content passively overnight. So you can trust that.
I should say a few words here about the curious way the protests are organized. The protesters learned in 2014 that having leaders was a weakness. Once the leadership was arrested, the heart went out of the occupy movement, and it lost momentum. So in 2019, there is no leadership at all. The protests are intentionally decentralized, using a jury-rigged combination of a popular message board, the group chat app Telegram, and in-person huddles at the protests.
This sounds like it shouldn’t possibly work, but the protesters are too young to know that it can’t work, so it works.
The protesters divide themselves into groups based on how much they can risk being arrested. The issue is not jail time, but the prospect of losing a job or being kicked out of school, now that China has shown it will crack down ferociously on companies that employ demonstrators. . . .
It is hard to believe this is the tenth week of protests. The energy and numbers are just astonishing. In spite of the relentlessness of the police, in spite of the beatings from thugs who the authorities have allowed to rough up people with impunity, every weekend Hong Kongers come out to march. . . .
We are now in the heart of the tourist district, with hotels and fancy restaurants all around us. If I came here during the day, I would be stopped and asked a dozen times if I wanted my clothes tailored. Tonight, the tailors have stayed home. The street is a sea of black-clad people in masks and hard hats. Word goes around that tear gas has already been fired two blocks away, and I fumble to get my equipment on.
The Persian poets say the nose is the outpost of the face. I am normally proud of mine. Its great bulk has preceded me into every difficult situation in my life, sniffing out both danger and opportunity.
But the mask I bought here is designed for more delicate faces than mine. When I put it on, it somehow channels the air I exhale directly into my goggles, which fog up instantly. I can only see for a few seconds at a time before the world turns into a white mist. But, I reason, not being able to see from condensation will be much better than not being able to see from tear gas. I hang goggles and mask around my neck and await developments.