Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg spent two days this week facing questions from U.S. lawmakers and what have we learned?
We’ve learned that very few demonstrated more than a limited understanding of Facebook and social media.
We also learned that Zuckerberg had been very clearly briefed on how to present himself, and the information Facebook was willing to share.
We also learned that the rest of us tech savvy social media experts reacted, not by uttering; ‘The horror, the horror’ but smugly posting gifs, videos and images mocking Mr Z and grampa senator.
Mr Z had the confidence of one of the world’s richest men. He had the confidence of one of the world’s most ‘powerful’ men. He had the confidence which comes from controlling a company that has, stealth- like, permeated all areas of our lives, across the globe and now has the capacity and capability to destroy any one of us. But let’s keep smirking at how funny he looks. Hey, he looks like that guy from Star Trek, be sure to like and share my observational humour.
If the worst that has happened is we’ve mocked how he looks I’m sure Mr Z will feel he’s a had a pretty good week.
I honestly don’t know if Zuckerberg is an evil Bond villain or naively thinks he can make the world a better place.
What I do know is; we should stop complaining that he has our data. We gave it to him.
We knew what would happen years ago and like Pinocchio at Pleasure Island, we have loved every minute of our online hedonism.
Zuckerberg is no different from the rest of the liars and deceivers who we vote as leaders, reward as gods and trust like fools.
Oh, and stop saying ‘If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.’
Why would you think paying for a service means the company treats you with respect? Do you think John Lewis cares so much about the spirit of Christmas that it spends millions on a short movie to ensure you feel the warm glow of generosity induced debt?
The purpose of the John Lewis Christmas advertisement is to make you feel better about buying one of their kettles or jumpers.
Do you think Ikea cares about you as a family and that is why they gave you a Family Loyalty card?
They know if you turn up at their store with partner and kids there is every chance you will buy more, and this will easily offset that very generous free coffee they promised each of you.
Sainsbury’s gives me points and discounts not because they’re thinking ‘Let’s make the fella smile.’ Every voucher, every email and every in-store display is designed to make me spend more than I have spent previously – and my Nectar card tells them exactly what I’ve purchased, the frequency and time of day.
So, don’t tell me that paying for something makes a corporation respect me.
But what about the deceit? Much has been made of Zukerberg’s avoidance of truth when answering about data collection, tracking and profiling.
But he’s not the first company and individual to lie and betray our trust.. or treat us like mugs.
What about Volkswagen and fuel emissions?
For almost my entire life the Volkswagen brand has been one of trust, integrity, safety and responsibility. Turns out, they’ve lied to us for years.
Not only did the company lie about the emissions it eventually became clear that the cars were configured to give false readings when the wheels were turning, but the car wasn’t moving, on a rolling road. That’s deliberate deception and lies.
Or perhaps we could look to our own politicians. Whether we look to Blair and WMD or more recently The Brexit Bus. Did the world stop? Were politicians sent to prison? No, and we did nothing.
Or we could look at the charismatic Richard Branson who said he would sue the NHS. Have any of us given up our Virgin products and services?
‘I’ll never ride on a Virgin train again, or fly in one of his planes. What he’s done to the NHS is … disgusting’ – said nobody.
Or Brendan Cox? If ever there was a symbol of integrity and compassion, then surely it is he?
Or Oxfam, handing out care and compassion with one hand and caught with their trousers down exploiting the very victims and people they are there to save.
Why should Mark Zuckerberg be any different? What he knows is; morality and ethics no longer matter – if indeed they ever meant anything at all.
Why should he care about our privacy when we don’t care at all?