By Kelly McPherson
Mark Zuckerberg is far from the college student he was when creating Facebook, he is one of the most powerful men in the world worth approximately AU$65 Billion so why do people think he would want to be President?
Let’s have a look at what Mr Zuckerberg has been up to in recent times.
- He promised to give away almost all his wealth over the course of his lifetime, setting up a foundation with his wife Priscilla Chan that will funnel Mr Zuckerberg’s fortune into good causes.
- He has announced that he plans to visit every US state this year in a ‘man of the people’ drive to understand the parts of America he believes have been left behind by the modern world.
- In recent weeks he presented Facebook’s new 5,700 word ‘mission statement’ in which he said he wanted to “bring humanity together”
Sounds all good in theory but there are many who suspect the grandiose tones and sweeping statements are the beginning of political ambitions to become President of the United States, which is an enticing idea, but unfortunately as recently as last week Mr Zuckerberg has denied this, presumably because he would see little benefit in isolating half of America by picking one political party.
Facebook has had a pretty good year so far, shares have continued to surge, profits have more than doubled and almost 2 billion people around the world now use Facebook every month. But with this growing power has come growing scrutiny, particularly with regards to ‘fake news’ which has now become a global issue.
There are fears that the ‘fake news’ epidemic will be used to hijack elections in France and Germany this year and in Britain, it is the subject of a parliamentary enquiry.
But ‘fake news’ is not all Facebook needs to worry about, they have also been accused of neo-colonialism when they attempted to provide people in India and other countries with free internet access, limited to Facebook and a select number of other websites. Facebook has also faced parallel charges over censorship last year when it removed newsworthy photos of war crimes and civil rights protests.
Most big business are worried about some new upstart stealing their thunder but Facebook has to date been extremely successful in defeating (or buying) its rivals so the biggest threat to Facebook is if people change their opinion of the platform in either a public or political forum.
There is a rising feeling in some industries that Facebook’s power is now reaching a point where leaving it unchecked is uncomfortable, traditionally Facebooks response to this is that all they do is provide a platform, there is no agenda and everything that happens on Facebook is the responsibility of the user, Zuckerbergs recent open letter was an attempt to present a new vision that, Facebook could be used as a force for good and in many ways it already is.
Mr Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook’s aim is to “build the new social infrastructure to create the world we want for generations to come.”
Who needs Trump when we have Facebook? In Mark Zuckerbergs world, Facebook is bigger than that and I tend to agree, Facebook is in very real terms, the power of the people and I get the feeling there are some equally, if not more powerful people, who don’t like this idea very much at all.
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