Mark Zuckerberg frequently touts his commitment to free speech and human rights. He has taken to portraying Facebook as a bulwark for democracy and a necessary counterweight to the Chinese model of the Internet. But that narrative is born out of naked opportunism and teeming with hypocrisy.
In reality, Zuckerberg spent years coddling authoritarian leaders in Beijing – from developing a censorship tool for the regime, to asking President Xi to name his unborn child – in hopes of gaining access to the Chinese market. Only after recognizing these desperate overtures were futile, and that anti-China sentiment was growing in Washington, did he pivot to casting them as his foil.
Even now, Facebook still earns more revenue from Chinese companies and state-backed entities than from any country besides the U.S. and does extensive business with other repressive regimes around the world, often suppressing dissent at their behest.