MIT, Facebook, and Google: Estimable Outfits Indeed

November 21, 2021

In 2019, MIT was the outfit issued a letter to the MIT community with this statement:

Here are the core facts, as best as we can determine: Over the course of 20 years, MIT received approximately $800,000 via foundations controlled by Jeffrey Epstein. All of those gifts went either to the MIT Media Lab or to Professor Seth Lloyd. Both Seth and Media Lab Director Joi Ito have made public statements apologizing to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims and others for judgments made over a series of years.

I read “How Facebook and Google Fund Global Misinformation.” I noted this passage:

But there’s a crucial piece missing from the story. Facebook isn’t
just amplifying misinformation. The company is also funding it. An MIT Technology Review_ _investigation, based on expert interviews, data analyses, and documents that were not included in the Facebook Papers, has found that Facebook and Google are paying millions of ad dollars to bankroll clickbait actors, fueling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world.

What did the 2019 Epstein related missive from L. Rafael Reif and the MIT Technology Review article spark in my mind?

Here’s the summary:

  1. How many Facebook and Google employees are former students or graduates of these two estimable companies?
  2. Why does MIT rely on confidential documents appropriated by a Harvard graduate? Was this action by the Harvard graduate legal?
  3. The MIT – Epstein interactions took place over 20 years; Facebook and Google have been breaking moral ground for the same interval. Why is so much time required to identify, research, and apologize for certain behaviors?

I have other thoughts as well, but these convey the direction in which these “revelations” are drifting. MIT, Facebook, and Google — estimable outfits indeed.

Stephen E Arnold, November 21, 2021


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