The New York Times this week asked historian and documentarian Ken Burns what he thought of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, and he didn’t hold back.
Burns claimed that Zuckerberg is “an enemy of the state” and deserving of prison time.
Burns spoke with Kara Swisher of the Times on the “Sway” podcast on August 2 about his most recent project, a movie on Muhammad Ali that will air on PBS on September 19. But a variety of topics were discussed, including Burns’ strong views on social media corporations.
Who do you believe would be the Muhammad Ali of a century from now, questioned Swisher? Stacey Abrams, an activist for voting rights, was mentioned, and Burns responded, “She’s the genuine deal. I really do hope that by then Zuckerberg is behind bars.
This is an adversary of the state, and by that I mean the United States of America, he said. He could care less about the United States. He is aware that he can overcome it. He has the ability to flee anywhere. Therefore, it is all about filthy money.
Then Burns turned his attention to Sheryl Sandberg, Zuckerberg’s deputy and the current COO of Facebook. He said that Facebook and other social media corporations should face international legal consequences analogous to the 1946 Nuremberg Trials, though he also predicted that this wouldn’t occur.
Burns remarked that if Nuremberg ever occurs, which it won’t, it will be “quite intriguing” because Sheryl is a collaborator in this. The ability to temporize and say, “Oh, it’s okay, we’ll just go a little further.”
Despite the fact that Zuckerberg was rarely mentioned in this interview outside of Burns’ jab, Sandberg and the Facebook CEO reportedly have a tense relationship, according to the Times.
According to that New York Times article from July 9, Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s once “close working relationship” is deteriorating as a result of Zuckerberg taking on more of Sandberg’s duties. The view from within the company’s upper echelons, as the story put it, was “clear: It felt like Facebook was no longer headed by a No. 1 and No. 2, but a No. 1 and many.”
According to The Times, the two’s political differences grew during the Trump administration and “challenged a central relationship at Facebook — between Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg,” leading to Sandberg’s growing isolation.