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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Is Facebook a Machiavellian company?

Por qubano22005

Unforgettable are Tom Hanks’ lines onThe Circle, a film that passed without glories through the US box office but several prophetic messages or at least foretelling were left on the world of new technologies, especially the one related to Social Networks. In The Circle, the general manager does not care about the personal safety of people if the goal is achieved: to have more users.

Well, apparently this Machiavellian purpose has knocked on several doors of Silicon Valley and after the latest Facebook scandal, several managers have given their opinion. Andrew Bosworth an executive of the popular social network recently denied a memo that was leaked through Buzzfeed in which he describes the company's policy to grow and obtain customers at all costs. Does it ring the bell?

The Facebook executive did not deny his origin but contradictorily expressed that he did not agree with it. Supposedly Andrew's interest was to create an internal debate, a kind of brainstorming, something always profitable for innovative companies.

In the 2016 internal memo entitled “The Ugly”, it says that “all the work we do to grow is justified”, even if it costs someone’s life because the person is exposed to stalkers or dies in a terrorist attack. In the film, there are similar analogies to this approach and above all many ethical and technical questions. In the movie, a young man loses his life as a result of the harassment of several people who precisely use a tool of the company created by a man (Hanks). Apparently, Silicon Valley companies that compete for a number of registered users and popularity have no qualms in creating strategies to increase the number of their followers. Myspace’s case was memorable; therefore, now the goal is not to make the same mistakes and always keep on innovating even if some dark trick got to be used.

Since 2006 Bosworth has worked for the Zuckerberg's company and currently serves as the company’s vice president. He performs, among others, works of virtual reality’s operations and augmented reality, two branches that are booming with the improvement of hardware and the speed of data transmission. Bosworth, to which two important areas of development like content flow and groups, were given, is one of the responsible of applications such as Messenger since as shown in the Cambridge Analytics’ case, the compilation of personal data flowed largely through that application.

On the other hand, young Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, commented that he, like others of his colleagues, disagreed with the message issued by Bosworth, although he admitted he is a provocateur and his memoranda are partly the secret of his leadership within the company and the possibility that this one improves every day. However, Mark took no responsibilities by saying that connecting people is not enough to achieve success. According to the founder and creator of the multimillion-dollar company, they must continue working on Facebook’sfoundations: bringing people closer.

The company has also changed its mission and has made some transformations in the way of interaction. So far it is not known if the scandals that have plagued Facebook in recent months will affect its quotations, but it is likely to happen, a fact that has made its competitors sharpen their teeth. After the scandal of data leakage, and the possible Russian collusion through its servers to interfere in the presidential elections of 2016, the social network is in serious trouble. At the moment there is already a first victim of this whole affair, Alex Stamos, security director of Facebook, who resigned for disagreeing with the rest of the executives on how to address security problems.

Stamos is well-known and respected in the computer world for his cybersecurity knowledge. His presence in international events offered the image that his company was highly responsible for its users’ safety. Years ago, his dispute with Yahoo after knowing a secret program that allowed the government access to the users’ emails reinforced his prestige.

Facebook will become another abandoned social network nobody knows. Currently, it would be good for Mark to hold to his millions and think of solutions for the crisis that can come to him.