What to Know
- On Tuesday, the founders of Sapien.Network installed a 7-foot-tall bronze statue of Harambe, the gorilla, in front of Facebook’s headquarters.
- Sapien.Networks members, Teja Aluru, Robert Giometti, and Ankit Bhatia, installed the statute to criticize Facebook’s “prioritization of profits over people.”
- This demonstration comes one week after the founders placed the statue in front of Wall Street’s infamous charging bull.
One week after his show-down in Wall Street, Harambe the gorilla has once again made an appearance—this time facing off against the social media app, Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg.
On Tuesday, the 7-foot-bronze statue was placed in front of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California to criticize how tech companies and their founders, like Facebook, have threatened the safety of its users by “using them for profit instead of empowering them like they claim to do.”
This demonstration comes after former Facebook product manager, Frances Haugen, released documents that revealed the social media company knew about the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
“Sapien is taking the initiative with Harambe and offering an alternative social experience to the existing system, enabled by technology but governed by people instead of algorithms," said Ankit Bhatia, co-founder of Sapien.Network, an in-development social networking platform that “aims to address disparities by creating a new, human-centric ecosystem that enables connection and cooperation.”
A spokesperson for Sapien.Network told NBC 4 that Harambe “represents the vulnerability of people to large tech platforms such as Facebook that use algorithms and dominance to exert their power over individuals.”
According to a press release, the bananas “[teach] us all to be patient, be selfless, and enjoy the fruit when ripe.”
Similar to its previous demonstration, Sapien.Network plans on donating the fruit to food banks in the San Francisco Bay Area, “as a gesture of equitable distribution and the power of sharing resources.”
This demonstration comes one week after the statue stared down Wall Street’s Charging Bull in Bowling Green Park, another demonstration prompted by Sapien.Network to make a point about wealth disparity.
As for the statue's next move, A spokesperson from Sapien.Network told NBC 4 to “watch this space.”
On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new name for the corporate sector of Facebook, “Meta,” which he hopes will become the “next frontier.”