Facebook’s CEO Mark Elliot Zuckerberg killed a goat and ate it. Dinner guest, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter says, “I just ate my salad.”
In his defence, it is not illegal to eat goat. Dorsey explained ‘Zuck’s’ odd behaviour, “There was a year when he was only eating what he was killing. He killed the goat with a laser gun and a knife and cooked it for dinner.”
And we don’t mean to impugn goat eaters either but use this bizarre example as a preamble to Facebook’s erratic behaviour since Zuckerberg’s robot-like performance in the US Senate last April. It seems Zuckerberg cannot stay out of the headlines despite the calibre of his PR team.
By the way, Zuckerberg was told to promote the nickname ‘Zuck’ by his global PR team headed by former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Why? To soften his nerdy image and ethnicity – a German-Jewish name meaning ‘Sugar Mountain’.
Read on for events of the past six months – this is a train wreck waiting to happen!
All is not well at Facebook’s Disney-Land inspired campus at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA.
Zuckerberg has exposed his carnivorous behaviour, and ‘the acorn does not fall far from the oak’. Interestingly Facebook has devoured Instagram, WhatsApp, Onavo VPN, Oculus VR and more than 70 other companies since 2005. Zuckerberg has a habit of chewing them up and spitting them out when done. In Facebook’s case, it is not growth by acquisition but growth by attrition [of your competitors].
Just ask WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum who both recently left Facebook after disagreements over its business practices. Acton even tweeted #DeleteFacebook over the company’s privacy issues, and Koum announced his departure due to clashes over the privacy of user data.
Or look at Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger who for years were able to ‘amicably’ resist certain Facebook product initiatives that they felt went against their vision. They are out too.
Facebook may face the mother of all fines
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out stating it has been investigating Facebook’s privacy practices since March 2018. It is nearing the investigation’s end and is hinting at what may be a “record-setting fine”.
How big a fine? Perhaps billions of dollars although the FTC goal is not to put Facebook out of business but make it work inside a regulated environment that protects user’s privacy.
The FTC feels Facebook may have violated several of its undertakings to better protect people’s privacy. Those undertakings, called a consent decree made in 2011, are valid for 20 years. Facebook agreeing to them was it’s “Get out of jail card for free’. Whatever it had done to date was forgiven, but what it does moving forward carries the full weight of the law.
In the past few months alone it has changed the privacy settings of as many as 14 million users without knowledge or consent; unblocked people that hundreds of thousands of users had blocked; exposed up to 90 million user’s data to hackers (GadgetGuy article here); and explosive revelations that it shared personal data with 60 major device companies.
Zuckerberg and the team are tight-lipped – solidarity is paramount, or you are out
Investors and major advertisers are publicly saying Zuckerberg, and the C-suite have made a big mess and its time to clean it up. Starting with him stepping down as Chairman and his number two, Sheryl Sandberg to leave. Zuckerberg says no – it is his company and as the largest shareholder he can do what he wishes!
Staff must sign a comprehensive contract to protect the company’s secrets and business practices.
Facebook, long thought of as a “cool” place to work is no longer. The avalanche of negative press has aspiring software engineers re-thinking whether they want to be associated with a company so many now rightly revile. According to CNBC, “Several former employees likened the culture to a ‘cult’ where “employees are discouraged from voicing dissent.”