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Mark Zuckerberg: Genius Entrepeneur or Legendary Con Artist?

Mark Zuckerberg: Genius Entrepeneur or Legendary Con Artist?

It is no secret that Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, has undergone numerous scandals in his time under the spotlight. Between the controversial beginnings of Facebook to his recent hearings on Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg’s reputation has never remained unscathed. Yet, the repetitive scandals have not affected the growth of his businesses and the level of his success, and while he underplays the power he wields, it appears he’s well aware of how valuable that power is globally. In his most recent government hearing, Zuckerberg was bombarded with questions regarding the development and potential launch of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency engine titled Libra. The debate on whether Libra should be created or not stems from Facebook’s most recent issues with collecting user’s private data as a way to boost specific advertisements that would attract the user’s personal interests. This invasion of privacy did not sit well with Facebook’s users and the government itself, but Zuckerberg left with a slap on the wrist and a small fine that barely put a dent in his billionaire pocket. With endless evidence pertaining to Zuckerberg’s problematic past, it brings up the question of how and why he is still able to maintain his business ventures.

Genius Entrepreneur or Legendary Con?

One of the reasons as to why Mark Zuckerberg easily gets away with the negative allegations fired at him is that he is skilled at downplaying any damage his company may cause. He often deflects hard questions about data and how Facebook uses and abuses user data by claiming that he’s trying to make a more open world and make it easier for users to share information. What he never cops to is the fact that his company’s willingness to broker in user data has become increasingly problematic.  In his most recent meetings on capitol hill, both connected by a national concern involving the use of user’s privacy, photos and videos showcase him being very physically confident and borderline smug when answering questions. While his successful status may give him some form of permission to act as such, doing so while answering questions regarding sharing the user’s personal data does not sit well with lawmakers and the public—his user base—is becoming warier of Facebook and Zuck’s continual breaches of user data. Such a serious subject should not be taken lightly and it is clear that Zuckerberg views these concerns with an air of disingenuous concern. He claims that Facebook cares and it will do better, but his sentiments mean little when he repeatedly fails to back up his promises. 

A couple of weeks ago, Zuckerberg met on Capitol Hill yet again, but this time about the new cryptocurrency strategy by the name of Libra, which plans to make it easier for users to transact with businesses directly through Facebook. The main concern of this new development goes back to the government's initial questions towards what private data Facebook collects from its users. Although Zuckerberg did admit to collecting private data to push advertisements, new information has been revealed that Facebook may also be spying on user’s private conversations through Messenger. Many users have even reported further speculation that Facebook may actually be listening to its users through their cellular device’s speakers to also push advertisements, and even though users are experiencing this, there has been no confirmation on whether this is true or not. Zuckerberg stated that he will only launch Libra if it surpasses US policymaker approval, but the development of the in-app cryptocurrency is still a go whether it passes or not. The main issue the public has with Libra is what exact information does one has to give to use it and would that private information that, mostly, involves people’s money be safe from Facebook’s prying tendencies. It seems that regardless of the concern Libra holds upon its users and the government itself, Zuckerberg appears to assume that Libra will pass US policymaker approval by continuing the conversation with Libra’s creators. 

Zuckerberg’s confidence in his success may be a typical characteristic for a business owner who pushes a win-at-all-costs culture at Facebook. The “Move fast and break things” value system that drove Facebook to succeed as a social network seems far less appropriate where currencies and the financial data and information of Facebook’s users are at stake. With deepening scrutiny from the United States and other world governments, it suggests that users themselves should question their own security on Zuckerberg's platforms and be especially skeptical before buying in—literally buying in—to his Libra cryptocurrency promises of protecting them and their financial data. Zuck’s certainty in his own decisions shows that he has little regard for the users of his platforms, which include Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp and believes he will be successful in doing what he pleases. History shows that no matter the amount of the fines leveled against Facebook and regardless of his users’ disapproval, Zuckerberg will continue to run his company the way he wants to, which may represent a very poor business strategy. 



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Sierra Joan Sierra Joan

 @Sierra Swanson  @sierrajoan  @sierrajoan_  @sierrajoan_