Websummit 2021's Opening Night Highlights by Kirsten & Wilmar

By Wilmar Alex Tax & Kirsten Scholte, 02 November 2021

We - Kirsten & Wilmar - are live at the WebSummit covering its highlights for you. Opening night included speakers such as Frances Haugen, The Facebook (now known as Meta) Whistleblower at Whistleblower Aid and one of Black Live Matters founders Ayọ (fka Opal) Tometi. According to Reuters, WebSummit is the biggest tech conference in Europe and the Guardian calls it the Glastonbury for Geeks. This is our fourth time here.

Opening night was already phenomenal with two incredible female power speakers Ayo Tometi from Black Lives Matters and Frances Haugen a former Facebook/Meta employee/whistleblower.

Diversity

Ayọ Tometi - one of Black Lives Matter founders - talked about the movement as something that may be in the now, in the news today, but is something that was and will be true in the past and the future, it's part of eternal values. Black Lives Matter NOW, they did yesterday, many years ago and will be. Ayo also stated that when Black Lives Matter, all lives will benefit, because it inspires others and makes them act to make a difference. 

"We should have faith in each other. We could step into a new story. The status quo does not have to win. We are the solution of the world's problems."

[Ayọ Tometi is an award-winning human rights defender and one of the three women who co-created #BlackLivesMatter. Born to Nigerian Immigrant parents in the USA, her human rights activism crosses borders and extends over 20 years]

Truth vs. Misinformation

Frances Haugen: "I wanted to work on misinformation, but the way Facebook's algorithm actually is programmed it can really break societies if these countries don't have checks and balances in place." Haugen called out Ethiopia as an example.

Frances: "Facebook is not transparant and that's the biggest problem. Google and Twitter have much more transparency in place."

"Facebook has become a way to get the large megaphone into the wrong group of people. Engagement based ranking is dangerous, because the most polarising is getting the most engagement and it can really get out of control."

There's no need to choose between privacy or transparency, like Facebook wrongfully claims. Mandated data access for example is possible and a great way.

[Frances Haugen - A former Facebook employee, Frances provided tens of thousands of pages of internal company research to the US’s SEC. She says the documents prove Facebook is lying about the effectiveness of its efforts to eradicate hate, violence and misinformation.]

One of the main take outs of both awesome speakers this evening one is:

IMPACT > intent
The Time Is Now. You can and have to become who you already are and make a difference in the world.

...so far for the opening night. Stay tuned for more Web Summit highlights over the next few days!