Did Mark Zuckerberg Fail Facebook? What happened?

Facebook, the biggest social networking platform has been under plenty of scrutinies as of late. With the company embroiled in various scandals, public and media have blasted the company for their deficiencies. All these allegations and scandals have led us to ask the question: "Has Mark Zuckerberg failed Facebook?"

The billionaire Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004, along with his Harvard college classmates and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz. Initially started by Zuckerberg as a means to communicate with Harvard students, it slowly started expanding and eventually took over the whole world. As of the 4th quarter of 2017, it has over 2.2 billion active monthly users. In addition, it's parent company, Facebook Inc., whose CEO is Zuckerberg, has acquired various other companies like  Whatsapp, Pebbles, Onavo, Atlas Solutions and many more.

Then why is the company under such scrutiny? Firstly, it is due to the massive privacy breaches of millions of user accounts that have resulted in a massive backlash from the users and the media. Secondly, Facebook's use of manipulation of the US election in 2016 also angered people to a great extent. These scandals have brought the Facebook and Zuckerberg to their knees. In the light of these incidents, let us examine the various scandals Facebook has been involved in and whether or not Zuckerberg has destroyed Facebook.

Cambridge Analytics

In the most recent scandal, the political analysis firm Cambridge Analytica attained data of millions of user via a researcher who gained it through a quiz app on the program. The same firm was also linked to the 2016 US election scandal.

This revelation left people outraged and politicians demanded a testimony from Zuckerberg in front of the Congress. The hashtag #DeleteFacebook became a massive trend. After a long silence, Zuckerberg agreed to testify on April 11.

Retaining users' deleted data    

Facebook responded to the Cambridge Analytica scandal by allowing users to download their users to retain their deleted data. This revelation triggered a massive outcry as people were pissed that Facebook was storing their deleted data. Facebook later apologized, calling it an unintentional "bug" but the apology did nothing to calm the public outcry.

 2016 US Election Scandal

In the 2016 US election, Facebook's role in spreading fake news across the social network was heavily criticized. Facebook later admitted last year that hundreds of fake Russian Facebook account purchased more than $100,000 in ads, which U.S. intelligence agencies claimed were made to in favor of now president Donald Trump. Zuckerberg addressed these issues and said they were working to combat fake news on Facebook.

Questionable Agenda

The anger at Facebook grew, even more, when a 2016 memo written by a Vice President, Andrew Bosworth was released where he claimed that the company's growth is their main concern, not the safety of the people.

He wrote "Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still, we connect people. But the nasty truth is we believe in connecting people to such an extent that anything that allows us to do so more often is *de facto* good."

Bosworth confirmed this via Twitter:

Photo and Link scans in Messenger

Bloomerang revealed that images and links you send on Messenger are scanned and stored by Facebook. This has questioned Facebooks ability to uphold it's users' privacy despite Facebook's claims that it is done to flag sensitive data.

A Facebook Messenger spokesperson told Bloomberg, "For example, on Messenger, when you send a picture, our automated systems first scan it using a photo matching technology to detect if there is any known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we have to scan it thoroughly for various malware and viruses. Facebook designed these tools in order to stop any abusive behavior that happens our media platform.”

 Zuckerberg's Testimony  

On Aprill 11&12, 2018, Zuckerberg appeared before The Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees to explain how and why all those information were leaked. I the % hour testimony, he apologized for all the leaked information. The 33-year-old also confirmed that they are working with a special counsel to investigate the alleged meddling in the US election.

Some of his quotes from the testimony are:

 "One of the biggest regrets of my life is that we were too slow in identifying the Russian information operations that happened in 2016 during the US elections."

 "There are people in Russia whose sole purpose is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems as well. So this is an arms race. They're going to keep getting better and better and we need to invest in getting better at this as well."

"When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica, they told us that they weren't using the data and had deleted it, we considered it to be a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a big mistake. We shouldn't have taken their word for it. We've updated our privacy policy to make sure that we don't make that mistake ever again."

Future of Facebook, Zuckerberg

Due to all these allegations, we are left to wonder what becomes of Facebook now. The fact that Zuckerberg, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, appeared in front of the Senate in a suit rather than his trademark grey shirt suggests he is massively guilty. Keeping users information and meddling with the elections has damaged Facebook's reputation. To ensure no more damage is done, he has to get a lot of things right.  

The first thing on Zuckerberg's to-do list must be to ensure the privacy of his users and that none of the information gets leaked. Furthermore, the possible outcomes of his testimony could mean new rules being implemented to counter data leaks and could possibly limit Facebook's earnings. Moreover, a user-friendly platform is a must.

But the biggest question is, has the damage been already done? The damage done to Facebook's reputation may be unrepairable. With new social sites available more than ever, people might very well switch to those sites rather than face the privacy problems of Facebook. There is a distinct possibility that Facebook might become extinct, just like Mig33. Hence, Mark Zuckerberg might just have failed Facebook in a big way. And the other big worry for Zuckerberg is that if these leaks continue, he could very well meet the fate of Julian Assange, the infamous Wikileaks founder.  

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