Mark Zuckerberg had the time of his life when he had to answer to Congress.
Normally a massive scandal and potential breach of data might see a company in trouble, but for the CEO of Facebook, it’s been a blast so far.
When the details of the Camrbidge Analytica story first broke it seemed that Facebook might be in huge trouble. Users started deactivating. Parliament summoned Mark Zuckerberg but he declined to show. It seemed like he was hiding out in his cabin, trying to plot a way to save himself from the sinking ship. So how has this scandal gone so right for Zuckerberg?
The answer lies with incompetent politicians who will almost always make a potentially bad guy seem like a good one. They’re so spectacularly useless that Zuckerberg could probably plan a presidential run if he wanted to.
“When the details of the Cambridge Analytica story first broke it seemed that Facebook might be in huge trouble”
Since Zuckerberg has actually bothered to grace at least US politicians with his presence though he has actually made money. His reputation hasn’t even been remotely dented but instead got a good polish by people who were so incompetent they didn’t even seem to know what they were there for.
Perhaps it is because like the UK, US politics is dominated by older people. This means that young voices get shut out, but not only does that mean representation goes out of the window, the unique experiences of each generation is also erased. Younger voters grew up with technology. We live it, we breathe it, we run our lives through it. We understand social media and all of the elements which go around it. People savvy with technology would be more likely to avoid asking if signing in to a platform was an opt in system.
The politicians didn’t have a clue – or perhaps a cynic might say some knew what they were doing given that Cruz asked repeatedly about Trump posters getting shut down, whether Facebook staffers were asked about their politics and tried to appear an effective interrogator despite the fact that Cruz allegedly was connected to Cambridge Analytica, and made use of their services several years ago.
The people mounting the questions then were either compromised or just downright out of their depth. It leads to bigger questions though about whether Parliament would have done better? Should politicians be the ones holding Zuckerberg to account or actual investigators who understand which questions they should be asking?
Zuckerberg put in a confident performance with investors growing more comfortable with Facebook after several weeks of deep concerns but this wasn’t a win for Zuckerberg. He was let off the hook by politicians who failed to get any trace of accountability. We need young people in politics but more than that, we need people who understand social media.
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