Last Thursday, the New York Times published a damning exposé about how Facebook’s two most senior executives engaged in a concerted and deliberate scheme to shield from the public the extent of the company’s data breaches and then attempted to minimize the deleterious effects the fallout from these revelations would have for the company.
The portrait that emerges of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is not a flattering one. Their attempts at damage control have backfired, prompting calls for substantive regulations that will reign in the company in many areas where they have abused their unchecked and unfettered power.
Despite all the outcry from liberals, the most important aspect of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal was its impact on demystifying the company and exposing the scope and extent of its surreptitious business practices. The privacy scandal has revealed the enormous gulf between the company’s high-minded persona and the devious business practices in which it engages. It’s allure and image as a “tech” company has been permanently punctured.
When the story broke, the delayed reaction of the company was perplexing — almost bizarre. While Mark Zuckerberg emerged slowly from his cocoon and took most of the incoming fire from the resultant public outcry, his Lieutenant, Sheryl Sandberg, was inexplicably MIA. Instead of “leaning-in,” media darling Sandberg, chose to hide out. Since the revelations resulting from the privacy scandal had the potential to unravel the company’s core business operations with dire consequences for its ability to sustain its growth into the future, the company’s response, while unjustifiable, in hindsight, is understandable.
Here’s the dirty little secret: Facebook’s business model is fundamentally sleazy. It misappropriates customers personal private informant and sells or transfers that data to third parties without its user’s knowledge or consent. There is nothing “high tech” about Facebook. It is nothing more than a giant network that functions as a worldwide advertising platform. That’s it. Zuckerberg’s transparently phony act of appearing at shareholders meetings in a T-shirt to create the image of himself as a Steve Jobs visionary doesn’t change that fact.
The extent to which Facebook tracks individual’s interactions with the internet was previously unknown. We now know that Facebook’s tracking tentacles extend and record even the web browsing history of those who are not on its site. This has now prompted a question that for almost a decade was never asked: what right does Facebook have to collect information on which sites a person visits