I just read an article written on June 3, 2010 asking that Mark Zuckerberg resign from his post at Facebook. People are welcome to their opinions but I wanted to respond to some of the reasons given in the article. Plainly, I don’t think that Zuckerberg should leave his post as CEO and I don’t think that the reasons given in that article are valid.
Overlooking User base
It’s true that Facebook has had some privacy flops and that the tech savvy media have made everyone aware of it. The problem with this stance is two fold. First off, the people who were complaining about the privacy channels were not necessarily the main user base but instead, tech savvy bloggers. It got some traction with the mainstream media, but it was all show. What I mean by this is, the main user base doesn’t care about these issues even though they are issues. Privacy is not something they are very aware of or even want to worry about. Secondly, if we think back to the days when every tech blogger was threatening to leave Facebook, what were they angry about? They were angry about the granularity of the privacy settings! They were angry that there was so much control over the privacy. They worried that the normal user couldn’t figure it out. I had an easy time going around it. I’m sure that if a regular user (non-tech savvy, doesn’t care about privacy much) were to use it they could get around it too. Ultimately, the real user base doesn’t care and if it did, it could have figured it out.
Behind The Stage
In the article, there is also talk about Twitter and Google being “enduring” enterprises due to their respect of their user base. Oh, how much has changed since June. We have a Google app that does background location information without the user knowing, Android and Apple apps are sending information to third-party advertisers etc. These companies are freemium services and will and have always been cataloguing information from us. Sure, the more user and privacy friendly one, given they are technologically identical, will win. But they again, as mentioned above, most people have a hard time caring about their privacy. I don’t know many people (even tech savvy one’s) that will sit down and read page after page of term of service agreements. It’s absurd. Maybe should work on that.
As for Twitter, they seem to have a pretty good record. They are basically squeeky clean. They also seem to have a pretty clean bank account. They might be expanding their revenue streams due to new ad products but we can only wait and see. Given other companies track records, I wont be surprised if Twitter has been aggregating data without our knowledge. What happens behind closed doors doesn’t always stay behind closed doors.
He’s Just Under Pressure
I’m not really sure why this PR faux pas was even mentioned. He’s a young guy and he was under the spotlight (pun intended). Public speaking shouldn’t be the measure of a great CEO. Further, did we really expect Zuckerberg (or any other CEO) to admit some real wrongdoing? That would not only bring down morale at the company but might also frighten users. Any good CEO would protect the investors and reassure the users that nothing is wrong. I think that whether it was intentional that he dodged some of the questions or just mere coincidence, it was what should have happened.