Zuckerberg sweating when asked about privacy: why it should make you nervous
When asked about privacy by two low-key, sympathetic journalists, Mark Zuckerberg gave an evasive answer as sweat dripped from his face and he repeatedly squirmed in his chair, swallowing nervously.
Doesn't that make you nervous? It should. The press and myriad users have excoriated Facebook time after time for a seemingly endless number of privacy and other flaws that give users nightmares (here's one example). Those cyber problems often spill into the real world, potentially shattering lives. It's obviously an important issue, but Zuckerberg never seems to get it. He's great at making excuses and prevaricating; he is poor at giving his users the straight answers they deserve. He's also poor at fixing problems, which will seemingly continue until we wise up and give Facebook the heave-ho as we migrate to a new social networking site run by people who value your privacy.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
— Ben Franklin
The interview was rich in irony. Zuckerberg wants everyone to share information, but he doesn't want to talk about himself or the perennially vexing Facebook privacy issues. He also did not like being questioned about his actions, which he attributed to his past mistakes. He wants us to overlook what he previously did, yet he engineered his site to be brutally unforgiving.
As I discussed in another article, I was permanently banned from Facebook for a reason that I and my many Facebook friends can't figure out, just as many others have been booted off that site for reasons that leave them mystified and shaking their heads in disbelief. Facebook does this coldly, callously, dictatorially, and whimsically: booting me off while permitting a nut to repeatedly use vicious profanity and talk about shooting people, including a Member of Congress. They aren't willing to forgive and forget, yet they want you to overlook what Zuckerberg has done wrong, such as calling his users “dumb fucks” for trusting him.
After discovering a Facebook privacy and security flaw that makes all the other ones seem minor, I was stunned that they would have the nerve to even try such as thing (see note #1). However, Zuckerberg seems inexcusably apathetic about privacy, which led one of my psychologist friends to wonder if he is a sociopath who isn't restrained by a conscience (learn how to spot a sociopath). As a doctor, I don't think so. The fact that he sweated bullets shows that his conscience was bothering him—that he does have something to hide, he knows it is wrong, and it bothers him deeply . . . but he won't stop.
Perhaps we are “dumb fucks”after all.
Evidence suggests that he used private login data from TheFacebook to hack into private email accounts—“a blatant violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 USC 1030), making the action a federal crime.” Harvard Crimson managing editor Elisabeth Theodore thought that Zuckerberg “did seem very sleazy” and his reaction to the website “was very very weird.”
Like other big shots, Zuckerberg seems to get away with murder.
Believe it or not, but I am not anti-Zuckerberg. He's done some great things, such as donate to a competitor: the Diaspora project. I've spoken with someone who knows Bill Gates and says he is a great guy (let's forget about his second-rate software!), but I can't imagine Gates donating to a competitor. So let's give Zuckerberg credit for being magnanimous.
However, Zuckerberg has the too rich, too young syndrome. It's not in textbooks of psychology or the DSM, but you intuitively know what it is: having too much money and power before acquiring the wisdom to use it with common sense and good judgment.
Former President George W. Bush offered some advice to Zuckerberg: “It’s important not to be book smart and sidewalk stupid. In other words, you get so caught up in kind of intellectual airiness that you can’t be a commonsensical person.”
Some people claim that Zuckerberg is bizarrely lacking in normal emotions and borderline-autistic, so he may not realize how others see him. He's been described as a misogynist (one who hates women), dishonest (he paid $65 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that he stole the idea for Facebook after claiming he was “going to fuck them”), conniving, insecure, angry, vindictive, contemptuously arrogant, and a backstabbing low-class jerk who betrays his friends—some even say he's an asshole, a scheming sex maniac, and a borderline sociopath.
When coupled with that constellation of personality flaws, people who are too young and too powerful may get an overblown sense of what they can get away with in terms of screwing others. Zuckerberg can buy an army of lawyers and other legal hit men to f--k his enemies (if he truly is vindictive; see note #2), but unless he wants to exchange his famous hoodie for a bullet-proof vest and spend the rest of his life cowering behind bodyguards who can't do much more than give him a false sense of security, he'd better learn the Golden Rule pronto: treat others as you wish to be treated.
Zuckerberg doesn't want anyone to screw him, yet he reportedly doesn't mind using his power against others. When coupled with his billions of dollars, this David-versus-Goliath power differential gives him the ability to seek revenge in ways that may give some people a burning desire to get even. Kick a dog, and he may bite you. Figuratively kick a human, and he may shoot you. More about that in a minute.
Zuckerberg might claim he treats everyone fairly, but if he thinks that, he is dangerously deluding himself. Facebook booted me off for no good reason, and they've done the same to some of my friends and others who also did nothing wrong. I was planning to leave Facebook before I was abruptly banned, so I don't care about losing access to that site (in fact, I'd like to thank them), but others might be emotionally devastated by being booted off. One of my old Facebook friends has no real friends in the real world; her Facebook friends are her friends, period. She is not close to her family, so when she isn't working, she's on Facebook connecting with the only people who matter to her. If she were to be permanently banned as I was, she would undoubtedly be shattered. She doesn't have the Jared Loughner impulsivity to throw the rest of her life away just for the chance to get revenge, but Facebook now has over 500 million users.
Do the math: multiply 500 million times the surprisingly large percentage of people with mental illness that makes them prone to do nutty, impulsive things, and then factor in the number of people who Facebook and Zuckerberg will screw, perhaps by something as trivial as an unjustifiable account deletion, or perhaps by Zuckerberg deliberately retaliating.
When you do the math, you can't help but wonder if Zuckerberg will end up in a body bag. I've seen it happen many times in my career as an ER doctor. People possess an innate sense of right and wrong that doesn't always conform to the judicial standard of justice. When some folks get mad, they get a burning desire for revenge. Now I know what you're thinking: Yeah, they're all drug dealers or other lowlifes.
Not true. A very rich local businessman was recently gunned down by a Catholic-school coach who'd previously led a rock-solid life. The coach was mad because Mr. MegaBucks had an affair with his wife, who was now divorcing him—presumably to be with her sugar daddy and his piles of gold.
However, Mr. MegaBucks had enough lead pumped into him that his gold will now go to someone else, since he will be spending the rest of this winter and eternity under six feet of dirt … far away from his money and the wives of other men.
When President Bush cautioned Zuckerberg not to be sidewalk stupid he surely wasn't specifically referring to doing things that might make him more likely to be a victim of violence. However, the avuncular advice to “be a commonsensical person” means to be a commonsensical person in all ways, including doing something we ALL should do: religiously follow the Golden Rule.
Media reports from Pakistan indicate that Zuckerberg could face the death penalty in that nation for an offense only they would deem worthy of execution. While the U.S. would never extradite him, some zealous Pakistani might pay Zuckerberg a visit so he can join his 72 virgins in the afterlife. If you have a year or so to spare, Google will help you find many others who might have a desire to harm the Facebook CEO.
Zuckerberg is the face of Facebook, so, rightly or wrongly, he will be blamed for their mistakes and hence be Target #1 when the next Jared Loughner goes postal with their zip code singed in his mind.
I know that online smears are often wildly inaccurate, so we shouldn't assume that Zuckerberg is the über-jerk he is said to be. He might be a genuinely nice guy who would never think of using his megabucks to screw David—who, lacking enough Goliath gold to fight back in court, might use hot lead to level the playing field.
Other than self-defense, I can't think of a good reason to kill someone, yet that doesn't stop countless people from pulling the trigger each year. In my medical career, I've seen kids killing kids, friends killing friends, husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, people killing other relatives, and an endless number of people killing others for an endless number of reasons, with revenge at the top of that list.
Those people are just statistics to most people, but I've wiped their shattered brains off their eyes so I could check if their pupils still responded to light. You can guess what I found. You don't need an MD after your name to realize that when brain matter drips down the forehead, it's not a good sign.
I've seen people do things to one another you can't imagine; things that make being shot seem almost humane. Now for the scary part: Most of the ones who tried or succeeded in killing others did not have a criminal history; they went from Joe Six-pack to Joe Six-gun in a flash of anger, often triggered by things that seem too trivial to warrant profanity, let alone a bullet or something worse.
The economic collapse of the United States is far from over and far from bottoming out. As things get worse and social order breaks down (as even some mainstream experts predict), more people than ever will resort to violence and vent their pent-up anger. Software engineer Joseph Stack intentionally crashed his plane into a federal government office building, and others suffering financial or other losses have committed suicide or murder. There is at least one proven way to quickly restore our prosperity, and I have novel plans that could work miracles, but most people are so stuck thinking inside the box all they can do is ridicule anyone who thinks differently. They are often the geniuses who pave the way to a better future, but they're often called crazy.
An advertising slogan created for Apple Computer in 1997 brilliantly explained how “the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently” who are “crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
- I wrote an article documenting this privacy nightmare. Publishing it would destroy Facebook's reputation, which might trigger the wrath of Zuckerberg. After reading this article, would you release that info? Contact me if you have a strong opinion.
- The Social Network painted a very ugly picture of Zuckerberg's personality. True or false? Scott Rudin, its Academy Award-winning producer, suggested the film was based on solid evidence by saying, “Do you have any idea how many lawyers had to vet every word of this script before this movie was legally scriptable?” He added, “The movie is thoroughly vetted. I'm very comfortable that we got the facts right.”
- Facebook To Share Users' Home Addresses, Phone Numbers With External Sites
- 10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account: a superb article by Dan Yoder.
- Facing Backlash: Facebook Sued By Users Over Privacy Concerns
- With friends like these ...: Discusses Facebook and its Board of Directors, which includes Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Judging by Thiel's brainpower and political philosophy, his genius and wisdom aren't rubbing off on Facebook.
- Why I'm deleting my Facebook account
- Leakage of Private Information from Popular Web Sites Is Common, New Study Finds