Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has “done a Zuckerberg” again – i.e., ignored a request from a foreign parliament to show up and personally take a beating for his company’s real and/or perceived transgressions.
But it was the Canadian Parliament this time that has been snubbed by the US billionaire.
Previously, Zuckerberg was a no-show before the British Parliament.
So, requests be damned – perhaps now a summons is in order? Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party agrees.
But let’s take a step back here. Judging by the cacophony of accusations against Facebook made by established media, governments, and everyone and their brother these last couple of years – one would think the company had been transformed into an evil giant overnight.
But Facebook has been around since 2004; and its business method has been consistent: unscrupulously collect private user data, then monetize it for all its worth. And never look back.
But outside privacy and freedoms circles, this egregiously unethical behavior never became a major talking point, let alone a crisis of planetary proportions – not before the 2016 US presidential elections. That’s when Facebook started to be pilloried as a crucial (f)actor in Donald Trump’s victory.
And that’s not because Trump’s supporters are seen as simply being better at taking advantage of the platform that was there for everyone – that would mean admitting it was a clean victory.
Instead, the focus has been on a sinister outside force, with such power and reach that it managed to abuse Facebook to the scale of nothing less than fixing a US presidential election.
Even today, if you thought the Canadian and British parliaments wanted Zuckerberg to explain how his company tracks your every move not only on Facebook, but also willy-nilly everywhere on the internet – think again.
The “privacy” angle is worked into these serious accusations every time. But the real worry seems to be what Reuters here terms as “the potential foreign meddling in the national elections.” Other people might term it as – “election results we just don’t like.”
The Canadian Parliament used the very word “democracy” to describe what seems to be that particular concern.