Even though the new Facebook scandal shook the world as well as the tech industry, is it time to ask for the total annihilation of this social media giant or should we give it a second chance? Actually, this isn’t what people want. Everyone just wants to see Mark Zuckerberg punished for the mistake. People are angry. We are all angry. And for good reason.
Namely, Facebook, under Zuckerberg’s leadership, made every big mistake that could be made in the tech industry. Facebook failed to prevent Russian interference campaigns during the US presidential elections in 2016. Many believe it was arrogant of Zuckerberg to dismiss President Obama’s concerns. He actually stated that this was a crazy idea, and he uttered those words one year later when he offered his apologies.
Moreover, in light of the last year’s great Cambridge Analytica scandal, it was revealed that Facebook failed to protect our privacy before app developers began to suck down information about millions of people. Facebook allowed a seventeen-minute live broadcast of the New Zealand’s mosques massacre. Those videos can still be found all over the Internet, so the damage is irreversible.
Breaking up Big Tech
Another example added to this growing pile of mistakes was the spectacular failure to do the right thing back in 2017. Namely, Facebook didn’t stop Myanmar’s military campaign from running on this social platform. As the United Nations disclosed, all of the hateful images and posts on Facebook had a crucial role in the murder of a Muslim minority in Myanmar.
We can put it this way — Facebook played an important role in the genocide since the company didn’t do as much as lift a finger to prevent it. Considering all these recent examples, it’s no wonder the requests to shut down this social media are rising by the day.
Facebook’s co-founder and Marc’s dorm roommate at Harvard, Chris Hughes, said that we are a nation with a long tradition of controlling monopolies, regardless of the intentions of the companies in charge. Many politicians have supported him, including Elizabeth Warren, Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator. Warren tweeted “It’s time to #BreakUpBigTech” in response to Hughes’ comment. Still, let’s not succumb to the simplistic view that taking Facebook down will make any significant difference.
Let’s imagine all other Facebook’s social networks are taken down. Instagram, the photo-sharing service, is used by over one billion people; Whatsapp — a texting service, has over 1.5 billion users. However, Facebook is, to this day, still the largest network with over 2.38 billion users visiting the platform each month. This makes Facebook’s user base larger than any country’s population.
Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook’s undisputed leader, with exclusive control over this company. He believes that bringing Facebook down isn’t going to help in any way.
The Microsoft Case
A former policy director for the Federal Trade Commission, David Balto, is of the opinion that although people believe a breakup is the only reasonable approach, it could backfire. He was on the team which accused Microsoft of monopolistic behavior almost two decades ago.
At the time, people had issues with this software giant being too competitive and aggressive. The public was particularly disturbed by the fact that Microsoft bundled its Internet Explorer browser with the Windows software, which was the one to power most of the PCs worldwide. Even though there were many requests to break up Microsoft back in the day, it never actually happened.
Balto also added that a more appropriate solution would be to establish some rules for the entire industry. That beats shutting companies down. Sweeping the problem under the rug is not going to solve the problem.
Let’s face it — we all want to see Facebook’s owner punished. We need Zuckerberg to feel a portion of the pain we all felt when he made terrible decisions and dreadful mistakes as the leader of the company. Moreover, he has been avoiding interviews for some time now, which has made the public even more angry at him.
The author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America” Margaret O’Mara said that there were many things these companies should have thought about earlier. She connected the overall mood surrounding tech companies nowadays to how people felt at the end of the twentieth century before the demise of Standard Oil.
Is There a Solution?
Think about it — will punishing Zuckerberg solve our problems, no matter how badly we want it at the moment? Many believe this wouldn’t be the best solution. Instead, Facebook should strive to become much better. However, this will require a lot of work, and the company can’t do this on its own.
This venture requires worldwide lawmakers to step up and make solid rules that will truly regulate the tech industry, as opposed to merely letting it slide, as was the case in the past.
The government agencies need to watch Facebook closely and be so strict on its executives that they will fear making mistakes again. However, the hardest part will fall on the shoulders of ordinary citizens — we’ll need to stand up and demand Facebook become better!
This is one of the hardest things to do because, after all the scandals and unforgivable mistakes this social media giant has made, the vast majority of its users still think that Facebook is okay; or at least, we’re doing nothing to show our dissatisfaction. We might not be aware of it, but we make it okay every time we click the login button and help Facebook grow even more significant. Every time we share a link or click an ad in our newsfeed, we help Facebook and every other big platform think the “Oooops, we’re sorry but what can we do” policy is something sustainable.
If we don’t find solutions for these issues, Facebook will only get stronger. Yet, breaking it up won’t solve the problems.