In October of 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg streamed a speech from Georgetown University defending the company’s practice of not regulating or rejecting blatantly false political advertisements placed on their site. The speech, part of his “transparency tour” to allay concerns about the growing social power and stunning irresponsibility of Facebook, presents a troubling articulation of “voice” along neoliberal lines that atomizes the individual, separates activism from communities, and conflates activity on Facebook with free expression. In this essay, we use rhetorical scholarship on voice to illuminate how Zuckerberg’s speech both relies on and retrenches neoliberal rationality to flatten difference and resistance in the public sphere. Following that analysis, we highlight the broader implications for Zuckerberg’s redefinition of voice for the study of rhetoric and democracy.
Original Publication Information
Coker, C. R. & Corso-Gonzalez, R. "'With Facebook, You Have a Voice': Neoliberalism and Activism in Mark Zuckerberg’s Georgetown Address." 2021. Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric 11(1/2): 1-15.
Coker, Calvin and Corso-Gonzales, Ryan, "“With Facebook, you have a voice:” Neoliberalism and Activism in Mark Zuckerberg’s Georgetown Address" (2021). Faculty Scholarship. 763.