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Too much Power?



This article focuses heavily on the CEO and co-founder of Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg. Before really diving into the main argument, the author states several statistics about Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook that are quite shocking and intriguing: 1) “Facebook controls the biggest social networks in the world outside China”; 2)  “Only China remains unconquered among Zuckerberg’s 2.2 billion supplicants”; 3) “The duopoly that is Facebook and Google together control large sections of the online advertising market 58% this year in the US”. By stating these interesting facts about Zuckerberg and Facebook, the author makes it clear to the reader that Zuckerberg’s social network is incredibly large, accounting for almost 1/3 of the entire world population. After making it clear to the reader how enormous the social network is, the author begins to talk specifically about Zuckerberg and how he has become a dominant leader of this social network. Because Zuckerberg is the CEO and head of Facebook, one can argue that Zuckerberg is at the head of this giant social network; Zuckerberg can be seen as the most powerful “node” in the network of social media. The author then wraps this article up by talking about the need to keep Facebook and Zuckerberg in check; the author strongly believes that “it’s time for [Zuckerberg’s] empire to be broken up”.


A really interesting quote from the article that stood out to me was…

“…all periods of technological advance are associated with wrenching social change, and sustained investment in human and physical infrastructure would be needed to disperse the new technologies through the economy. That requires action by the state. Leaving it to the market will not work.”


This quote really connected with me because I think it resonates well with the material that we having been discussing in class. Technological advances lead to social change, which inevitably leads to imbalance and inequality of some sort. In other words, technological advances have made certain people significantly more powerful, more independent than other people in the social network. I chose to write about this article because it connects very closely to Chapter 12 –– Bargaining and Power in Networks–– which happens to be my favorite chapter thus far. One of the key points that I took away from this article is that social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc) has made people more dependable on higher power or higher control. By using these social media services, we are depending on these companies to handle our social interactions, our social data, and our social dependencies.


In concluding this blog post, I want to raise certain questions that I believe are worth thinking about.

  1. If we took the most influential/significant people in the world today, what would their network look like? Would it be relatively balanced? Or would there be a handful of nodes (people) that have dominant power?
  2. Facebook connects people from all over the world as easily as a click of a button on a computer. How has this ease of connectedness allowed people to expand their own personal networks? Is it possible that Facebook has actually limited your network to people close by? What would our social networks look like without these social media companies?
  3. How much power is too much power? Can you argue that Zuckerberg has become too powerful in the social network that is the world?


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