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Mark Zuckerberg’s Decade of Scandals

Mark Zuckerberg has made Facebook the most popular social platform in the world, but with that comes a series of problems.

Over the past 10 years, the CEO of Facebook, now Meta, has made many of the right moves for the company, from its 2012 IPO to its decision to spend billions of dollars buying Instagram and WhatsApp.

However, there are issues that Zuckerberg has not been able to address over the years: misinformation, privacy, content moderation, anti-competitive behavior, security, and the negative impact of social media on social media. with global users.

Zuckerberg's personal Facebook page was hacked in 2013. Photo: Khalil Shreateh

Zuckerberg’s personal Facebook page was hacked in 2013. Photo: Khalil Shreateh

In 2013, white hat hacker Khalil Shreateh discovered a serious security flaw and reported it to Facebook, but received no response. This person decided to hack Zuckerberg’s account to prove the vulnerability.

Having found the bug, Shreateh was still not rewarded by Facebook because he did not follow the correct error reporting process. However, the security world highly appreciated Shreateh’s discovery and said that the social network had behaved “not nice”.

Even Marc Maiffret, CTO of Beyond Trust, raised $10,000 to give Shreateh. “We make Facebook, not just Mark Zuckerberg. Therefore, we should reward people who make this social network safer,” commented a person named Ha Lemon about the campaign.

Just a year later, Zuckerberg continued to face a series of criticisms related to a psychological test with 70,000 participants. Follow Guardian, the survey, which has been going on since 2012, was conducted illegally when Facebook intentionally removed certain words to gauge users’ reactions to posts on the platform.

COO Sheryl Sandberg later explained: “This was part of research and testing of different products, but it was misinterpreted. We’re sorry, but we didn’t mean to get you guys out. disappointed”.

In 2016, Zuckerberg faced a wave of anger over fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Statistics on Buzzfeed shows that more false stories are spread on social media than news from official sources.

From here, users realize that Facebook, from a popular platform for communication and sharing, has turned into a dark place, full of people who specialize in distorting information. Above, sensational content, which receives a lot of interaction, will be prioritized to display at the top of each user’s News Feed. “In a way, Facebook is being used to divide people rather than connect people,” Zuckerberg admitted.

As the consequences of fake news lingered, in 2018 Zuckerberg had to deal with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This data analysis company was discovered to have illegally collected information of tens of millions of Facebook users to target ads, influence voters’ psychology during the 2016 US Presidential election. was informed about this issue but did not take drastic action. Zuckerberg must testify before the US Congress in April 2018. Movement to delete Facebook with hashtag #deletefacebook flourish on many social networks.

2018 was also rated as Facebook’s “darkest year” when the platform was discovered to be used by some countries for malicious purposes. A year later, the US Federal Trade Commission FTC fined the social network $5 billion for violating user privacy. This is a record fine for a technology company.

Zuckerberg in the 2019 hearing. Photo: AP

Zuckerberg during the 2019 hearing. Photo: AP

In October 2019, Facebook announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra. However, this move caused Zuckerberg to once again testify before the US House of Representatives regarding the financial and regulatory impacts of cryptocurrencies. In response, the CEO said he would consider abandoning the project if the associations and regulatory bodies continued to react in a way that the company did not feel comfortable with. Libra later changed its name to Diem, but little has been mentioned recently.

Also in 2019, Zuckerberg continued to have headaches after more than 7,000 documents, including 4,000 internal Facebook documents, were revealed through an application developer’s lawsuit. These include emails, chats, notes, spreadsheets, and slides that circulate within Facebook.

The leaked document describes how Facebook uses user data to “bargain” with software developers, how the social network restricts or terminates developers’ access to data, and plans to plans to track Android users’ locations and consider charging developers for access to user data. However, Zuckerberg chose to remain silent on this issue.

In January 2020, Facebook announced that it would not censor the ads of politicians, nor allow them to publish posts that may contain misinformation on its platform. This made experts and users react. At the same time, Zuckerberg said he would not delete President Donald Trump’s posts even though they contain inflammatory information, because the company applies a policy of exempting notable figures from the content code. According to him, social networks should not interfere or act as an arbiter of right and wrong for political content. This move prompted dozens of major advertisers to boycott Facebook afterward.

In July 2020, Mark Zuckerberg appeared in an antitrust hearing before the US Congress, along with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple and Alphabet of Google. If counted as a country, Facebook is the most populous country in the world with 2.6 billion users as of the first quarter of 2020. Many politicians expressed concern when Zuckerberg held too much power and proposed to split this social network to make it easier to manage.

In September of the same year, Sophie Zhang, a former employee of Facebook’s data science research division, accused the old company of failing to prevent political manipulation by foreign governments. A year later, she announced she would testify before lawmakers about what the social network had done, even saying it felt like “bloody hands” while working at Facebook.

Frances Haugen in front of the British Parliament building on October 25.  Photo: Reuters

Frances Haugen in front of the British Parliament building on October 25. Photo: Reuters

And now, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook face what is considered the “worst nightmare” in the history of this social network. Before resigning in May of this year, former manager Frances Haugen copied thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents, then shared them with the media and testified before the US Congress.

The document shows that the world’s largest social network is well aware of the negative effects of Instagram on minors, the existence of groups that incite violence, or how traffickers have used Facebook as a tool. transaction… However, the company still chooses to ignore it or deal with it superficially for the sake of profit.

In the new scandal, Facebook tried to “submerge” the crisis by pointing the nose at former employees, trying to discredit Haugen and claiming her testimony and reports about Facebook’s internal documents were distorted. . Meanwhile, Zuckerberg criticized what Haugen said to Congress for creating a “false picture of the company”, insisting it was building an experience that meets the needs of young people while keeping it safe. all for them.

Bao Lam (follow Business Insider)

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