Zuck faces congress while sitting in a booster seat
To catch up on what has happened click on this link:
By now you will have heard about Cambridge Analytica and our favourite antagonist Mark Zuckerberg. So what’s going to happen next? By the looks of Facebook’s shares which rose 5% after day 1 of the trial, and have risen a further 1.6%), Mark will get away with a warning and a task to change the user agreement system. Controversial feedback has come from this ordeal. With some sympathising with him, as well as some saying he’s a sneak. Many say that he took advantage of the congressmens’ lack of information during the trial. I can’t comment on the specifics as I am not a coding expert, however I can say that Zuckerberg has dodged enough questions to make him a professional rugby player. If you didn’t see the hearing, let me help you visualise the scene. A row of congressmen - old and lacking technical knowledge, patronising a billionaire (at 28 years old). Zuckerberg - giving generic answers, backed by staff who are preparing cue cards for him. He successfully goes through the hearing without disclosing the logistics of how Facebook works. Facebook sells your personal data to advertisers, and helps them target their ideal consumer. As someone who runs a retail company, I can see the benefits of this - an advertising scheme that reaches many people and guarantees a bang for your buck. This practice is not particularly new: hotels have been exposed for selling telephone numbers of their habitants to marketing companies. However, the problem is we don’t know how much data Facebook has. Although Zuckerberg denies Facebook being able to spy through user’s cameras, he doesn’t deny Facebook’s ability to track location, activities, and who you interact with.
Having watched the trial, I found Zuckerberg’s behaviour similar to that of a know-it-all in class. He repeats at least 4 times- “Yes senator, but Facebook already has this”. When asked whether or not he would be willing to disclose the hotel he stayed at as well as the names of who he messaged during the week prior, he chuckles and smugly says he would prefer not to disclose that information. Poor Zuck couldn’t see the irony of the question...
Despite his “betrayal”, I think we should show Zuckerberg some sympathy. Facebook is not the only culprit of data sharing. As mentioned before, you can bet money that other social media sites as well as cell service providers are taking your data and selling it without your knowledge. It honestly shouldn’t come as a surprise. As Karl Marx said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You use Instagram and Facebook with no sign up fee, but the cost comes from your activity and personal data. As soon as you download Google onto your phone, you can bet they have access to your location. Google HQ has a map with millions of little red dots showing where users have been for as long as the past SIX YEARS. I can’t even remember where I had lunch yesterday. Imagine if this information got into the wrong hands! As suggested by Dylan Curran, a computer analyst, a compromise should be settled whereby there is an “expiration” on data. Therefore data of my google searches of 6 months ago and before that should be wiped.
Furthermore whether or not these sites are “spying” on you (and they definitely are), the information you put online should only be content you are open to share with the whole world. The world is undeniably becoming internet-reliant, and therefore it is our job as consumers to adapt and learn to recognise threats online.
The arguments against this lack of privacy concerns is that Zuckerberg is a powerful lizard man (according to many conspiracy theorists on Reddit) who should have known better. Facebook is arguably the biggest social media site and so many say Zuckerberg should’ve been aware of his responsibility over the 12 million users. It makes sense. In the trial Zuckerberg talks about how the users have escalated the situation (when asked about the political impact of Facebook) and how it is difficult to control something that started from a dorm room. To that, I say he had more than a decade to figure out a solution. I suppose it might be too much to expect of Zuckerberg, seeing as when Facebook was conceived it was just a way to rank girls by looks.
To conclude: Zuckerberg will still be a rich man. He will still be hated by many. We will see other social media sites come under fire in the months coming. We can see if this affects the argument for net neutrality. And finally, he will not lend money to Kanye West.