Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is under serious scrutiny among reports that a company used Facebook users’ data in there 2016 presidential campaign cycle. Cambridge Analytica, which is an international company with offices in London, United Kingdom and in the United States, allegedly used data from Facebook to influence users leading up to Election Day 2016.
A news station had an undercover reporter videotape the company’s CEO, who admitted such practices, after which the company suspended the CEO and disavowed his comments.
Among the furor, CNN editor Chris Cillizza penned an analysis on how the media built up Zuckerberg as a Democratic Party presidential candidate in 2020 and then how that house of cards fell this week. He noted several media stories that championed Zuckberg’s ascendance into politics back in August 2017.
Cillizza noted his personal disappointment in Zuckerberg, calling him a “prophet of our new world” and blamed Trump’s presidential victory for Zuckerberg’s fall from grace in the media:
Zuckerberg as the prophet of our new world — interconnected through the Internet — was what initially created talk that he might not only run for president but could also be the kind of new, visionary leader the country needed.Then the 2016 election happened. Donald Trump, running, seemingly, a back-to-the-future sort of campaign won. And then came the slew of reports — later confirmed by the US Intelligence Community — that Russian had not only engaged in a broad-scale attempt to influence the presidential election but done so with the goal of helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.Suddenly our golden god of technology didn’t seem so benevolent anymore. The limitless possibilities offered by Facebook turned nefarious. Second thoughts about what we spent the last few years gleefully putting online — credit card info, family details and the pictures, the pictures, the pictures — crowded in. We experienced a collective, societal sense of buyer’s remorse.
Right now, that outlook is dim — and so Zuckerberg is a political scourge. But, just as he went from hero to heel over the last 7 months, it’s possible Zuckerberg returns to his past perch as high priest of our new technology age sometime in the not too distant future. The pace of our world almost guarantees it.