A thirty four year old white male, Mark Elliot Zuckerburg, rules over a virtual kingdom of 2.2 billion people across the globe that is fascinated by the potency of its vast friendly ambience. Like any other prosperous entity, the kingdom he built is currently under attack by multiple forces including the government of the most powerful state in the world. The reasons for a widespread animosity are credible enough to merit a thorough investigation into the intricate affairs of the Facebook.
To understand the true nature of the colossal reach of Facebook and its negative fallout, it is important to figure out the peculiar nature of digital technology. The famed Silicon Valley has given birth to a monster that is unfortunately the product of ethical tunnel vision of software engineers who are deprived of the ability to comprehend the cumulative impact of their production.
The business model of Facebook is also devoid of the capacity to ascertain the capacity inherent in it that is now widely known as surveillance capitalism. The mushrooming fangs of the product are quite naïve about its actual potential and its ancillary uses even if they are construed harmful in the end analysis.
At its advent Facebook was supposed to be a closed platform but it was wrongly perched up on a public platform without letting participants know its perils. It was festooned upon an open internet that has the capacity to produce both positive and negative aftereffects. As a private platform it was meant to enable people to hook up with one another and share personal information. Since it was a free software application it spread like wildfire and no one bothered about its explosive results.
With time Facebook became an exquisite fad everyone gave preference to and became the primary source of staying in touch wherever its users were. Its vast acceptability and application soon required a business plan to generate money for maintaining it. It resorted to advertising though its founders always expressed a dislike for it.
The catch of the whole matter was inherent in its very specifics as it was full of personal information of its users. Facebook data enabled commercial firms to easily pinpoint specific types and address their given choices by advertising relevant products to attract their attention. Facebook was then liberally used to monitor its users and the data so collected became a profitable commodity.
The catch of the whole matter was inherent
in its very specifics as it was full of
personal information of its users
The financial viability of Facebook skyrocketed and it soon became the eighth most valuable company in the world. Facebook’s programmers developed an outstanding automated regime that helped advertisers to focus particular audiences. The process filled the coffers of Mark Zuckerburg whose net worth rose to a whopping $62bn.
It is astonishing to observe that Zuckerburg and his team did not realise the risks inherent in sharing lots of information that could have been used to play political games. In all probability he knew the entire nature of sharing information with Cambridge Analytica and was fully aware for which purpose it was to be used.
“We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well,” he had to grudgingly admit. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake,” was what he had to mention about his culpability. The dangerous dimension of the issue becomes apparent when it is known that this was not the first slip but Facebook had previously been accused eleven times for indiscretions about data.
The matter is of grave concern to experts who view it with alarming worry as the impact of current scandal managed to wash-off $50bn from its stock market value and have raised deep questions about protection of personal privacy. It is quite obvious by the summoning of Zuckerburg in American Legislative hearing that appropriate regulatory regime will soon be proposed to ensure safety of personal data.
Critics are coming down heavy on the business model of Facebook that extracts personal information and related data and then shares it for purpose other than specified in their search request. The actual problem is the strong belief of Facebook managers that more connectivity justifies practices that ignore their proper usage.
Fahad Ali is associated with maritime trade