Peter Parker

Quick origin story – High school student Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider on a field trip and develops amazing abilities like super strength and the ability to crawl up the wall. At first, he uses these powers to make a little cash on the amateur wrestling circuit. A robbery occurs and he stands aside. “Not my problem,” he tells himself.

But it is his problem because within hours the thugs he could’ve stopped end up killing his beloved Uncle Ben.

Before his death, Ben manages to impart one gravely important message to his nephew: “With great power comes great responsibility.” For Peter Parker / Spider-Man, this becomes a mantra. A recurring theme as the boy becomes a man and the man becomes a superhero.

Here’s another origin story – College student Mark Zuckerberg builds a dating website out of his dorm room which develops into an amazing platform for communication for billions of people around the world. At first, he uses his power to make a little cash in the advertising game. An election hijacking takes place in the greatest democracy in the history of the world and he stands aside. “We’re just a platform,” he tells his users and employees.

But it is his problem because within weeks of the election the lurid details about how foreign interests commandeered the brains of US voters begin to come out, killing American trust in our political process.

And now the blowback is beginning to make headlines. The issue isn’t going away. Governments and citizens around the world are beginning to remark on it. Zuckerberg is now forced to cooperate with a special counsel appointed to investigate the impact that outside forces had on our election. They’ll want to know how aware Facebook the company was. They’ll want to stop this activity in the future. They’ll want answers as to how this can be done.

Peter Parker, now grown, is dealing with super villains bent on global domination and the destruction of our way of life. So is Mark Zuckerberg.

“Not my problem” isn’t going to cut it anymore. “We’re just an ad company” and “we’re not in the media business” won’t keep the investigators and the arm of the law at bay.

This might be the mighty Facebook’s biggest challenge yet. And it’s not going to go away.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Read:

Facebook’s Frankenstein Moment (New York Times)

I Helped Create Facebook’s Ad Machine. Here’s How I’d Fix It. (Wired)

Obama Warned Mark Zuckerberg About His Platform’s Problems (New York Magazine)

Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Stop You From Reading This Because The Algorithms Have Already Won (Buzzfeed)

A Legitimate Worry for Facebook Investors (Barron’s)

The Worm Has Turned (L2)

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