February 28, 2024

Mark Zuckerberg is King of the Internet

KWAME MOABI

King of the Jungle? No. King of the World? Maybe. King of the Internet? Most certainly. 

As the sovereign of the Internet, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg’s invention has total control of our daily lives. For as long as the Internet has existed and its users have been uploading information onto its sites, he has been the only individual to be in complete ownership of the world outside of our homes, that is, on our cellular devices. As the seventh wealthiest man to saunter the streets of the world, he is worth the hefty amount of $113,5 billion. Zuckerberg is growing his empire at quite a pace. 

However, as Facebook’s pivotal CEO, Zuckerberg is shockingly the company’s lowest paid employee. He receives an annual salary of $1.   The Tech-savvy billionaire already possesses some of the most influential social-media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger. He has accumulated billions of dollars from the major shares of each of the three companies, making him the wealthiest Internet mogul on earth. Cutting down to an annual income of one Dollar hasn’t really made much of a dent in his fat pockets.

As social media has become part of our lives, Zuckerberg’s empire has managed to exponentially grow wealthier year by year subsequent to its major purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp. However, the Internet entrepreneur’s road to riches hasn’t been a piece of cake and this is because of the fact that after the expansion of the online program ‘Facemash’- Facebook’s original name – Zuckerberg faced controversial legal confrontations. In the years after Facebook was released to the public, he faced multiple serious allegations of fraud, possible charges of injustice and poor lack of integrity on his social media platform. 

Nearly everyone in the world has access to the Internet and for that reason business has been booming for the newly-named Meta Corporate CEO since the start of the pandemic. 

So if business was booming, why in fact did the Internet face some load shedding of its own? Although it was in fact not a total black out, with apps such as TikTok and Twitter still up and running, it was a slow day at work for Zuckerberg and he lost billions as a result of the Internet being down.

On 4 October 2021 at midday, Facebook, together with its sister companies Instagram and WhatsApp Messenger, was down worldwide for hours on end. This came a day after Facebook whistle blower went on live television to call out Facebook on its responsibility for the role it played in the leakage of sensitive information of its users, interception in the 2016 US President elections, child and teenage exposure to sensitive content and the selling of consequential products. It is a possibility that Facebook Headquarters could have temporarily pulled the plug on its platforms to prevent such information from spreading like wildfire around the globe. Although it’s only one of many theories. Facebook has come forward to debunk these theories and claimed that it was a faulty backlog in the system.

In a dramatic turn of events, 37-year-old scientist and Facebook whistle blower, Frances Haugen, made herself known to the world. Haugen, a former Facebook, Pinterest and Google employee, now turned critic, came forward to expose the toxic effects of Facebook and Instagram on the self-esteem of teenage girls. What makes Haugen stand out is the amount of evidence she has accumulated in order to build a strong case against Facebook.

Having studied the misuse of the algorithms at Facebook in order to spread misinformation, she was able to learn about the company’s true integrity and interests and to which extent it was willing to sabotage the data of its users in order to protect itself. Her message is firm about the fact that throughout her time at Facebook, the company showed very little transparency to let its users know about its dangers, harm and lack of protection. She revealed in an international television interview with CBS ‘60 minutes’ that Facebook’s unwillingness to protect its users’ interests and safety was appalling and of great concern.

By calling out platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Frances Haugen aims to capture the attention of media magnates like Mark Zuckerberg to prevent them from sharing sensitive content to its younger audience and bring awareness to the health and safety concerns of teenagers and young adults on the Internet. By doing that, she hopes to work towards the bigger target and that is saving the Internet by making it safe for users.

As you use the Internet, take cognisance of the fact that someone is constantly tracking your accessing of sites with the intention to profit. In our ever-changing world, it is of great interest to all of us to be cautious about the content we share and the information we permit ourselves to grasp. Let us be aware of the impact social media has on us and protect ourselves against total dependence on social media and the potency of its platforms.