Saturday, February 4, 2012

facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is "a self-serving hypocrite"

Peter Foster: "Two-faced book"
... [Adam] Smith noted that businessmen — like all human beings — are often self-serving hypocrites. His point was that free commercial markets turned self-interest into public benefit. We can only serve ourselves by serving others. Meanwhile Smith scoffed at those who would “trade for the public good.”

Posturing obviously comes more easily to the search engine and Internet tycoons because they can claim they are more virtuous than those who run wicked old smokestack industries. Except, that is, when they are advertising their products, which just happens to be how the new tykes make most of their money. This brings us to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s letter in this week’s IPO filing.

... In his letter, Mr. Zuckerberg, who stands to be worth up to US$28-billion, claims that Facebook was “built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”

... Where it really gets murky is where he writes, “Over time, we expect governments will become more responsive to issues and concerns raised directly by all their people rather than through intermediaries controlled by a select few.”

... We have representative democracies for a reason. They don’t always work that well, but they are certainly preferable to the rule of any NGO-stoked Occupy cybermob.

... it’s worth noting that while rattling on about higher purpose and the voice of the people, Mr. Zuckerberg ... is keeping a firm grip on Facebook control via a dual share structure.  ... while he is paying lip service to the meddlers, he is doing his best to insulate himself from them. We knew he was a smart young man. Shame about the bafflegab.
Great column!  Read any corporate annual report and you'll find it filled with the same kind of posturing bafflegab about "stakeholders", "corporate social responsibility" and "sustainability". They dedicate people as full-time generators of this bullcrap and to sucking up to NGOs.


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Thucydides said...

People are unaware of their real relationship with Facebook; they are not the customers, they are the product.

Once people understand this they will (or should) no longer allow themselves to be scammed by Facebook or other social media sites.

I wonder how much Zukerberg would be really worth if people figured this out and defected en mass from Facebook, delinked their blogs and business etc?

JR said...

Steve, Thanks.

Good point. One does wonder about the viability of a company like Facebook. May be a good reason to shy away from its shares - though there may be fat short term gains for those who can get in on the IPO (and it looks like ordinary Canadians can't).

petronius bonho said...

I read somewhere that the average facebook member generates $12,000 in revenue per year for the company, based on friends lists, 'likes', content contributions and links. Yep, we are the product.

Like it or not, it's become an almost necessary communication tool for people and businesses. 'Facebook me' has replaced 'call me'. Most people use it now as email and daily messaging, as well as their main platform instead of a browser homepage. It's like having a landline or cable for free with everyone there whenever you need them. Everyone resents it, but there is no alternative that matches it for connected users. Google plus is a much stronger platform but the user group is very limited to early adopters, techies and politicos. 'Only' 100million users lol. I prefer G+ but still have to use facebook for my work.