A year ago, I wrote in these pages to ask “Could Facebook swing an election?” But the new question is, could Facebook swing an election for Mark Zuckerberg? And if so, what else could it swing? Well, that’s the problem.
There’s been some talk about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg running for president, but the idea has been stirring up objections from across the political spectrum. And personally, I think those objections have a lot of force. So does The Nation’s Jake Bittle, who writes that the idea is “terrifying.”
“His potential presidential candidacy should make us uneasy not because he’s a CEO, but because he’s the CEO of Facebook, the company ‘responsible for the largest and most brazen data-collection project in human history.’
As its user base has grown to encompass more than a quarter of the world’s population, Facebook has built an unparalleled system for tracking, analyzing and exploiting our behavior. The company owns (and sells) a totally unregulated storehouse of data about our most minute habits and inclinations: what we bought and when and where, whose pictures we looked at and for how long, where our cursor moved, what we sent, what we typed but didn’t send, and what we deleted — not to mention patterns in our browsing history, our e-mail activity, and our facial structures. This fearsome data apparatus has been pitched as part of Facebook’s ‘journey to connect the world.'”