Mark Zuckerberg is the Latest Victim of the Absolute Power Virus
And Facebook’s key investors are attempting to inoculate themselves
Over the course of the last several weeks, I’ve written extensively about the problems with Facebook — its greed, corruption and of course its leader, Mark Zuckerberg. I have never minced words when discussing what I believe to be the most dangerous force currently threatening the future of our freedom. I have noted that Facebook, under the leadership of Mr. Zuckerberg, does not care about your privacy. What I have not yet done, however, is examine the forces that propel someone like Mr. Zuckerberg — a genius who has done a lot of amazing work and whom I once respected immensely — towards a near obsessive impulse to maintain his place as one of the most powerful men on earth.
I am, of course, talking about power and the undeniably toxic nature of absolute power. It is a potent elixir that courses through the veins of any human being that’s unlucky enough to taste it’s sweet, syrupy flavor. It is a parasite that feeds on itself as much as it does its host. And it can turn even the most righteous into an unrecognizable version of themselves.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook is maligned by the spectre of absolute power. And finally, it seems that people close to him are beginning to notice.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the reasons why the founders of Whatsapp and Instagram decided to leave Facebook. The main takeaway being that they no longer wanted to be a part of a tech company that was morphing into Batman’s bat-sonar technology from the Dark Knight movie which essentially gave one person the power to spy on an entire city.
This past week…
Major Facebook investors, including public pension funds and state officials, are pushing for Mark Zuckerberg’s ouster as chairman of the company’s board.Though the proposal is largely symbolic one, since Zuckerberg holds absolute control of the board (60 percent of voting power among shareholders), it’s yet another sign that the former builder of communities is growing more alone.
The timing of this news isn’t random. It comes at a difficult time for Facebook, as security breaches plague the company and spur questions around corporate oversight, according to a CNBC report. Facebook recently confirmed that the vast majority of those victims whose accounts were hacked did indeed have their personal information stolen. (All it had said previously was that their accounts were accessed.) And while Facebook still doesn’t know just what the hackers plan to do with that information, the possibilities remain ominous. In fact, according to an article in Slate, we may never know the true extent of these security breaches, because a lot of the impact could take the form of individual identity thefts and spear-phishing attacks that are hard to link directly with the information stolen from people’s Facebook accounts.
The point is…
That the call to install someone other than Zuckerberg as chairman, who co-founded the social network in his Harvard dorm room in 2004, suggests some powerful Facebook backers would like new direction at the company, especially after a slew of crises.
The problem is…
That absolute power (I apologize for the multiple superhero references in this post but they sort of wrote themselves) works a lot like the sentient alien Symbiote better known as Venom from the Spiderman comics, in that it requires a host, usually human, to bond with for its survival. Which unfortunately means that any effort to remove Mr. Zuckerberg from his position will transpire into an atomic explosion. But that’s not such a bad thing, because change is what privacy advocates like myself are striving towards even if it comes at the cost of a few corporate casualties.
For the sake of our data privacy and ultimately our freedom, hopefully he realizes that he needs to foster the change, or else let the fireworks begin.