So it’s probably too soon to predict that Mark Zuckerberg is going to become the Martin Shkreli of social media. But don’t rule it out.
Just as the original stories about Harvey Weinstein set off the #MeToo movement, the latest reports on Facebook could signal the start of a revolution in the politics and culture of privacy. (As evidence, note Irwin Stelzer’s call for government regulation of Facebook in this conservative, free-market magazine.)
I’ll confess that the odds are against this: back in 1999 I wrote a book about the death of privacy, only to conclude afterward that the battle was already lost. Despite paying lip service to personal privacy, Americans had become profligate in the sharing of information, binging on social media platforms that exist to traffic in data about their friends, families, and online sexual proclivities. Leviathans like Facebook and Google rely on the public’s ignorance and/or indifference to the degree to which their business models are based on rummaging through the details of their lives and peddling it to others, occasionally for unseemly purposes.