Mark Zuckerberg—Hands Down, Most Useless American
Facebook is what happens when you fail to discipline your kid at the checkout candy-counter. Somehow or another, he coasted through a sheltered life and worked out how to build a billion-dollar online site and still manage to retain shareholder control. I didn’t say he wasn’t clever, simply useless, defined as having no beneficial use or incapable of functioning usefully. He fell in love with algorithms and became one himself—a string of computer code with no conscience.
Mark Zuckerberg owns or controls 88.1 percent of Facebook's Class B shares, which each have 10 votes at the annual meeting—3.98 billion votes overall. There are only 2.4 billion Class A shares, which are the only shares ordinary investors can buy. So any proposal Zuckerberg doesn't like will fail by nearly a 2-1 margin, assuming all Class A investors vote together, which never happens. (Zuckerberg owns 0.5 percent of the Class A shares.)
I’m not sure how he managed that
Who knows? Maybe he went on a crying jag and stamped his foot. But the shame is that Facebook is such a good investment that no one really gives a shit. Not even the United States Congress when they call him in to testify and certainly not his shareholders. They don’t want to know. If they get tough, Zuck may stop lining their pockets and last year Facebook doled out $20 million in Washington, proving once again that America has absolutely the finest government money can buy. It’s allowed a 37-year-old spoiled brat to become the fourth wealthiest man in the world.
And I have no problem with Zuckerberg’s money
Money is meaningless today in any realistic definition. When I was a young man, a fellow with a million dollars was a rich man. He had a lovely home, a Cadillac and belonged to a private country club. His kids went to good universities and maybe showed horses. Life was good and he was a genial chap.
Now a man (or woman) has a thousand-million dollars, with a couple of Bentleys for everyday and a Maserati for weekends, seven homes scattered around the world, a yacht, a couple of private jets, kids who are in and out of drug rehab and a thirst for more. That makes him or her a billionaire, 2,764 on the Forbes list and pretty small potatoes.
The rich folks I knew had time to play golf, play bridge one evening a week and watch their kids at horse shows. Today's super-rich eat in private dining rooms, are hounded by paparazzi and dare not have bodyguards. Doesn’t sound like much of a life to me, but I guess Jeff Bezos is happy. Zuckerberg is still a needy, whiny kid at the metaphoric candy counter.
The problem I have is that Facebook is killing people
And Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to care. Like so many other web-based businesses, Facebook values my privacy and keeps reminding me of that while they peddle it off to whomsoever will pay. But Whomsoever is a dark person these days, with an even darker soul and I wonder who it is who actually pays Zuck to unmask the protesters in Myanmar so the goon-squads can kill them off.
Facebook is promoting content that incites violence against Myanmar’s coup protesters and amplifies junta misinformation, despite promising to clamp down on the misuse of its platform, according to a study.
An investigation by the rights group Global Witness found that Facebook’s recommendation algorithm continues to invite users to view content that breaches its own policies. After liking a Myanmar military fan page, which did not contain recent posts violating Facebook’s policies, the rights group found that Facebook suggested several pro-military pages that contained abusive content.
Among the posts featured on one of the pages was an image of a “wanted” poster offering a $10m bounty for the capture “dead or alive” of a young woman. The post claimed she was among protesters who had burned down a factory following a military crackdown. Images of the woman’s face and a screenshot of what appeared to be her Facebook profile were posted alongside a caption reading: “This girl is the one who committed arson in Hlaing Tharyar. Her account has been deactivated. But she cannot run.”
Notice that the girl’s account had been deactivated, but not the account that put a bounty on her life.
I’m a solid believer in ‘follow the money.’
Follow the money uncovered Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica and Robert Mercer, the billionaire who bankrolls CA. The CEO of Cambridge Analytica (one of those Companies Robert Mercer owns) states that
“today in the United States we have somewhere close to four or five thousand data points on every individual … so we model the personality of every adult across the United States, some 230 million people.”
Does that make you kinda itchy? It sure caught my attention. That’s why they ‘value’ your privacy, so they can mine your data (through Likes) and sell what they gather to everything from shoe-stores to national political parties. Hit that Like button lately?
They use this collected data to interpret voter’s hidden emotions and target them accordingly. Tracking Facebook ‘likes’ they claim 150 likes allows their model to predict someone’s personality better than their spouse. With 300, they say it understands you better than you know yourself.
Which fascinates me, because no one has Zuck figured out
Not you, not me, not his shareholders and least of all the United States Congress.
Image Credit: Stringer .Reuters