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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

Whistleblowers Blowing Smoke: Recent Attacks on Facebook

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Elan Journo discuss the philosophical assumptions behind the calls to regulate Facebook in light of recent allegations of a former Facebook employee who claims the company’s various platforms encourage addiction and spread misinformation.

Among the topics covered:

  • Background on the recent attacks on Facebook;
  • The essence of Frances Haugen’s regulatory “oversight” proposal and its deterministic assumptions;
  • The cultural prejudice revealed by the gleeful embrace of the whistleblower’s claims;
  • The nonobjectivity of Haugen’s claim that Instagram causes mental health problems in children;
  • Why it’s unwarranted to say that users are “addicted” to Instagram;
  • The brazen distortion of the statistics about suicidal thoughts among Instagram users;
  • How Haugen’s proposal ignores obvious factors behind the uptick in teenage anxiety and depression;
  • The overt paternalism of the call to regulate Facebook and how it ignores people’s ability to make choices;
  • The sweeping determinism implied by Haugen’s view of how Facebook spreads misinformation;
  • The motivation behind Haugen’s call to regulate Facebook;
  • Why the hearing with Haugen was held.

Mentioned in the discussion are Ayn Rand’s essay “The Comprachicos,” available in her book The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution; Alan Greenspan’s essay “The Assault on Integrity,” available in the book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; and Ben Bayer’s essay “How to Empower Students to Break Out of Safe Spaces.”

This podcast was recorded on October 27, 2021. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

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Podcast audio:


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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

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