Mark Zuckerberg Calls Out Obama on Privacy

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 08:03 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Barack Obama to air his frustration about the U.S. government spying and hacking programs.

Somehow, it seems richly ironic that the king of social media is complaining about our loss of privacy. It's the latest chapter in Facebook's wild and crazy history. The company turned 10 years old a few weeks ago, showing off the maturity it has gained in its initial decade of business.

One of the major allegations against Facebook, which by now boasts more than 1.2 billion users, it that it is sacrificing its faithful's privacy as a way to give the company's advertisers more information about us.

When you write on Facebook that you loved "The Wolf of Wall Street," you're helping Madison Avenue open a window into your wallet. And Zuckerberg promotes the whole idea of catering to the advertisers which have made Facebook the toast of Wall Street.

Facebook staged an initial public offering on May 18, 2012, when its stock opened at a hefty $38. After that clams introduction, the stock proceeded to nosedive, losing more than half of its initial value before too long.

The charge against Facebook was that it had failed to come up with a winning mobile-advertising strategy. Once Facebook worked out that difficulty, the stock began to zoom.

Today, it is a shining symbol of tech prowess on Wall Street. Just check out that Facebook stock. Even after a challenging week, it closed on Friday trading above $67.

Flush with that kind of success, then, Zuckerberg, who turns 30 in May, felt compelled to sound off to the POTUS (as if the president doesn't have enough aggravation!). It is something of a pop-culture milestone when the CEO of Facebook, who is worth roughly $24 billion, feels powerful enough to try to put pressure on the president.

Imagine if this were actually part of a movie script. You'd have the sinister background music popping up to signal an ominous turn in the plot. Zuckerberg would be sitting alone in the dark when he suddenly reaches for the phone and calls Obama.

Or maybe it seems more likely that this exchange would be the focus of a cold opening on "Saturday Night Live." It would draw a lot of laughs.

Either way, this probably won't be the last time that Mark Zuckerberg takes on the president. This is his imaginable right, as an American self-made billionaire. It's just kind of funny that he would pick privacy as his big issue.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
 

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