Showdown over Facebook accountability following Cambridge Analytica scandal.
It’s an understatement to say that Mark Zuckerberg is going through a bit of a rough patch. His company has been called out on the worldwide stage for multiple privacy violations and data breaches, secret projects involving users’ medical records have come to light, and it has been forced to acknowledge its role in possibly rigging the last US presidential election.
Now, along with drawing ire from Silicon Valley icons and being called to testify before Congress, the court of public opinion is crucifying both Zuckerberg and a major US news outlet for what people deem as “infantalizing” a billionaire.
In the beginning
It started when Tesla’s Elon Musk made a public show of deleting his and his companies’ Facebook accounts over privacy concerns, followed by a similar move and statements from Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook. Apple’s co-founder/co-genius Steve Wozniak followed suit when he publicly stated that he had absolutely no use for either Facebook or its founder. Some tech moguls have even called for Facebook to be regulated due to privacy concerns.
Take the floor Mr Zuckerberg
Then, Zuckerberg was called to testify before a Congressional committee to answer a number of questions about privacy, use of consumer information, its ties to Cambridge Analytica and that resulting data breach, and even if the company had been subpoenaed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation into Donald Trump’s laundry list of possible violations.
But now, a single tweet from an international news source might be the thing that throws users over the edge. CNN tweeted its coverage of Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony with the headline, “This is Mark Zuckerberg’s growing up moment.” The Twitterverse set itself ablaze with rage over the “boys will be boys” attitude towards a 33-year-old billionaire, husband, and father, likening the viewpoint to the ever-present systemic belief that white males who screw up–even as badly and as often as Facebook has–are just little boys.
However things turn out for Facebook, it’s clear that the company has lost stock value and the trust of both Silicon Valley and everyday users. If there is a chance to come back from this, it will have to be transparent and consumer-centric.