“Mister Zuckerberg. I have with me all the comments and posts on facebook.com that condemn the new privacy settings. Hundreds of thousands of users don’t agree with the new policy. I would like to stress a couple of things that are at the core of our distress. First: the fact that you will always know where we are if we have our phone in our pocket. We would like to have the choice to opt out. Second: we want to stay the owner of the material we put online. It would be unfair if you would get paid for a photograph that an artist has taken for instance. And lastly I would like to advise you to focus on spending your money now, because you will have to spend at least 1.500.000 a day if you want to get rid of all of it before the age of 90.”
Mark hadn’t looked at me for a while now. He seemed friendly when I walked into his office. He wore a simple plain shirt and he had made my coffee while he asked questions to make me feel comfortable. In the middle of my speech he had walked to the big windows to gaze over Silicon Valley. Apparently he kept a cigar somewhere, because he lid it and blew his smoke towards the Googleplex. When he finally replied me his voice was an octave lower.
“Do you remember that text on facebook.com when you created your account? It was just one line, I’m sure you remember. You don’t? I’ll help you out. ‘Facebook is free and always will be’, it said. I’m saying this to remind you that you haven’t contributed a single penny to Facebook. The servers, the interface, the features, the system security. I am paying it all for you. And don’t forget all the lawsuits with annoying assholes like you. Meanwhile you use my services to store your photo’s, to text your friends, to find people and places, to receive invites for events, to remember your best friends’ birthday. Maybe you already use Facebook to make free phone calls to people around the globe, to pay for bills or to bring your stupid start-up under the attention of users of my website. Do you want to know who pays the bill?! You want to know who keeps Facebook free?! My FUCKING STAKEHOLDERS!! And you know what?! My stakeholders don’t give a shit about a couple of Europeans that unplug themselves because of privacy bullshit. My stakeholders are interested in the billions of new users that I will harvest when I bring INTERNET to AFRICA! My stakeholders are interested in the free Wi-Fi that I will cast upon the earth with little drones on solar energy! My stakeholders are interested in the future of Oculus, that will make the difference between game and reality virtually non-existent! If you, dumb fuck, don’t like the way I roll you are free to get off the boat and swim. We don’t negotiate with users.” “You can go now.”
I couldn’t say a word. I stood up and took the box with copies of user complaints. When I closed the door behind me I heard three swift knocks on the table.