One of the reasons I find it hard to believe that Facebook will be able to fix what is rotten at the core of the platform is because of the concentration of power in a single human being. That Zuckerberg is both the creator and the unassailable executive power of a network that connects more than a quarter of the world’s population makes his motivations and incentives complex beyond measure. He is closer to a king attempting to reign benevolently than a the more familiar role of a chief executive held in check by both a board and shareholders. He is both chairman of the board and as well as the controlling (voting-class) shareholder.
This has been a breakfast table conversation for our little family for about a year now and this article by some much smarter people than me has helped me think through my decision to step away from the main fb product. Here’s a little quote, but be sure to read through to end for a bit of an update regarding the king attempting to bind his own hands in order to build trust:
Still, once you begin to think about Facebook as a government, a great deal falls into place. Zuckerberg’s dilemmas are not the dilemmas of a corporation but the dilemmas of a king. Thanks to decades of research on political economy, we have some idea of what those dilemmas are and how difficult they are to solve.