One of the things I love about US Politics and democracy is that you can summon the super-rich to a Joint senate committee and fucking Grill them. This past week it was the turn of Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and Boy oh Boy did he look uncomfortable.
Ordinary people everywhere are now dialled into concerns about their own Data protection and privacy rights. For years the accumulation and analysis of this data has been sliced and diced by big Internet Giants and used by shadowy corporations and people for profit.
The companies and individuals that have access to your every electronic footprint are now starting to emerge and finally the spotlight is being turned back on them. What we are seeing is that the use of your data for Profit is now increasingly also being used to influence societal and political change. This last bit is what has made the politicians sit up and finally start to ask some questions
Mark Zuckerberg was asked a very simple question by Senator Nelson last week. Zuckerberg’s reply was simply shocking.
” Are you Actually considering having Facebook Users pay for you NOT to use their Information?”
After a rambling attempt to answer the question. The wily Senator rephrased and parsed what Zuckerberg had said and redirected the same question back to him again (much like a targeted Facebook ad!)
This time Zuckerberg answer was simple
‘ Yes Sentaor’
This is truly astonishing. You will need to pay Facebook not to receive Advertising that is tartgeted at us.
The troubling thing about Mark Zuckerberg is that his demeanor suggests he doesn’t even understand why this is a problem. His thinking is – we need a business model and this is our business model. He obviously thinks that this is better than the alternative -users having to put up with untargetted advertising.
This Senate Committee’s is in session primarily because hundreds of millions of Facebook users data was compromised during the last Presidential election. The Senate’s primary concern is one of self preservation. U.S. Democracy has been threatened and Facebook has been used as a tool to threaten it.
What worries me more than anything is the naiviety of Mark Zuckerberg. To my mind he looks, talks and acts like a decent human being. No doubt he is a ‘geek genius’ – but here is the rub. While he probably understands technology better than any human alive – He doesn’t understand people or their motives.
What we have seen in recent years is the advent of technological warfare. All the usual suspects are involved in it and I include the United States in that. To have any chance of repelling this threat globally we need to have really, really strong Leaders running the Tech Giants. Mark Zuckerberg is a really smart, ingenious human being. What he is not – is a leader. He lacks even the most basic Emotional Intelligence.
The Mark Zuckerberg’s, Steve Job’s (RIP) and Sergey Brin’s of this world are some of the brightest minds the world has produced. However all three in my opinion lack(ed) emotional intelligence. Why is this important?
The realm we have entered now with technology is one where simple technology and data collection are being used as a weapon. The people to the fore-front of this are very, very strong where the above are weak. They can see how and when to manipulate data to effect real calamity or disruption on large groups of people or even countries.
The faces at the top of global tech companies need to change and change pretty damn fast.