Zuckerberg’s Missing Conscience

I watched Social Network last night and found it disturbing on too many levels to cover all in one post.  So I’ll focus on the one I found most disturbing.

We have made a legend and role model for our youth out of a thief.

No matter how Mark Zuckerberg tries to distance himself from his character as portrayed in the movie, one fact remains.  In the final analysis, Zuckerberg paid 65 million dollars to two other young men because he stole their idea.

For me, everything else in the movie pales in comparison.

I knew virtually nothing of Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook and his meteoric rise to fame and fortune prior to sitting down to see the movie other than snippets here and there from the media.  My impression, based upon how he is covered in and by the media, was that he was some young, technological genius who created and designed the powerhouse “Facebook.”

However, after watching the movie, what I knew was that Zuckerberg built his “platform” on the backs of some other people he had no apparent problem climbing over, kicking in the teeth and crushing in the process.  He reminds me of Ivan Boesky, the 1990’s Arbitrageur who, in an address to a Stanford University graduating class, said “Greed is good.”  With that hubris, Boesky set the stage for two decades of plunder and materialism in this nation not seen since, probably, the Roman Empire.

Presently, we focused on the technological wonder of Facebook to the almost disregard for the total absence of ethics upon which it was created.  It’s like saying the economy was good during the Clinton years giving little mention to the immoral virus this nation was infected with as a result of Clinton’s wanton lust.

Today, the day after watching Social Network, I went in search of fact checking the accuracy of the movie.  It seems Zuckerberg was portrayed more asocial and more insensitive that he actually was.  That’s the good news.  The bad, very bad, news is that he did, in fact, steal the idea from two classmates and paid 65 million in restitution.

We should be very careful who we hold up as role models for the young.  In a world where Ivan Boesky is king and greed is good… Mark Zuckerberg is royalty. It’s not a world I want to inhabit.  Nor is it one in which we, as a nation, can survive in much longer.  It’s gotten us where we are at the moment… and the moment is tenuous.

There is nothing wrong with success or money if how you achieve either one of those is respectful of yourself and others.

In such a world, the Ivan Boeskys and Mark Zuckerbergs would be pariahs.


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