Over the years, Mark Zuckerberg has been at the centre of numerous controversies. The billionaire’s business dealings have attracted criticism and scrutiny from several quarters.
These controversies have not only raised questions about Meta’s handling of user data, privacy concerns, and content moderation but have also sparked debates on the impact of social media on society, democracy, and the ethical responsibilities of tech giants.
This article delves into five significant controversies surrounding Mark Zuckerberg, shedding light on the issues that have sparked public outcry and ignited intense debates.
Launch of Twitter-like app, Threads
Zuckerberg recently launched a new Threads app described as “Instagram’s text-based conversation app.” The app which enables users to connect directly with their favourite creators has generated criticisms from several quarters.
This is as Twitter Boss, Elon Musk sent a cease and desist letter through his lawyer, Alex Spiro to Zuckerberg. In the letter, Spiro accused Meta of hiring dozens of former Twitter employees, some of which “improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.”
Zuckerberg’s Meta was also accused of “crawling and scraping” Twitter data on users and followers. Responding to the accusations, Meta’s spokesman wrote, To be clear, no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.”
Covering the face of his kids in an Instagram post
Zuckerberg, who founded Instagram was recently accused of hypocrisy when he shared a family photo with his daughters’ faces hidden by emojis. In the photo, the faces of Maxima and August Chan Zuckerberg were hidden behind Samsung’s smiling and sunglasses emojis.
Reacting to the post, an Instagram user wrote, “Even Zuck doesn’t trust his platforms to put his kids’ faces up.” Another user on Facebook said, “Personally, he doesn’t like to share his family photos, however, he has created a platform solely dedicated to revealing the intimate details of people’s lives to the entire world. Truly a masterful display of irony!”
The now-defunct Cambridge Analytica firm scandal
Zuckerberg’s Facebook was also named in a Cambridge Analytica firm scandal. He was accused of failing to protect the personal information of more than 50 million users. Reports say Facebook shared the personal information of up to 87 million people, mostly in the United States.
Zuckerberg later acknowledged that they didn’t do enough to protect users. He said, “We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through about how people could use these tools to do harm. We didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is and that was a huge mistake.”
EU privacy violations
Another controversy, Zuckerberg’s Meta faced was the EU Privacy violations. The company was accused of transferring data from the European Union and the European Economic Area to the United States despite being suspended from doing so in 2021.
The Tech giant was fined nearly $1.3 billion for breaching European Union privacy laws.
$300 million journalism promise
Meta had earlier in 2019 promised to invest $300 million in journalism partnerships over 3 years, but the Tow Center at Columbia University discovered that the company had only disbursed $29.9 million in 2023.
According to reports, Zuckerberg’s Meta advertised its journalism grants as a way to support local newsrooms, but it has refused to disclose records of what it’s actually doing.
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