Over the past few months, Facebook has been at the receiving end of significant flak and criticism due to its insensitive handling of users’ data. Amidst a lot of controversies, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman of the popular social media platform is under huge pressure to resign. Zuckerberg’s reign has been likened to a dictatorship because of the voting privileges he enjoys, compared to the other shareholders of the company. With the recent breach in user confidentiality, we seriously need to rethink about the organizational structure of this company. In this article, we break down the three primary reasons why this has happened:
1) The Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The Cambridge Data Analytica Scandal was a political and cyber scandal that shook the world in early 2018. This company was a political consultancy firm that worked for Donald Trump during the 2016 election. This scandal proves time and again that we need to be exceptionally careful about how much of our lives we put out on social media. The firm procured and used raw data of nearly 87 million Facebook users for the campaign. How did that happen? A researcher Aleksandr Kogan developed a quiz that tracked and collected the data of those who took the quiz. And worse! It also obtained the information from their friends. Though Mark Zuckerberg has issued several apologies regarding the matter, things have not been the same for this popular social media ever since.
2) Instigating violence
The company has received a lot of hatred for the role it played in spreading targeted hatred against the minority Muslim population in Myanmar. Since 2013, multiple people have used the platform to speak out against the Rohingya Muslims, going on to compare them to the Jews that were tortured during Adolf Hitler’s reign. Even though the medium does have a way to track down and report hate speech, a technical glitch has made this impossible in the Burmese condition.
It is also quite saddening that Facebook has no working employees in Myanmar, a place where it has nearly 18 million users. This has also been the case in India, where there are almost 241 million users of Facebook. A lot of hate pages exist, condemning the presence of Muslims in the country, demanding their complete eradication from the state. This, in effect, has led to the rise of communism within the country.
3) Control of voting rights
Facebook does not have a democratic structure. What does that mean? Two classes of shareholders lay claim over this tech giant – Class A and Class B. The former has only one vote per share. The former meanwhile has ten votes per share. This essentially means that a lot of decisions are made by Class B shareholders. This happens to be Mark Zuckerberg himself and a few insiders. They control nearly 60% of the voting power. Hence a lot of decisions regarding the platform are made by Mark Zuckerberg himself. And this also means that it would be next to impossible to fire him.