How Yahoo in 2007 was Like Facebook in 2021

There seems to be a lot of similarity, yet a very notable difference, between social media ethics headlines from fifteen years ago and today.

Yahoo was in big trouble in 2007:

Yahoo Inc’s chief executive was verbally lashed by U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday over the Internet company’s role in helping identify a Chinese dissident who was later imprisoned by the government. “While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are Pygmies,” Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CEO Jerry Yang and Yahoo’s general counsel, Michael Callahan, at the three-hour hearing.

Facebook not only appears to be far less capable than Yahoo in terms of morality, the U.S. government also seems to be mostly silent largely due to Facebook’s vast army of lawyers and lobbyists.

In late 2020, Zuckerberg agreed to censor posts from anti-government critics in Vietnam… the platform effectively became the Vietnamese government’s hunting grounds for pro-democracy activists and environmental groups, with users landing in jail for “even mildly critical posts.”

Rep. Tom Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the United States Congress. He passed away in 2008 from cancer.

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