EYEWITNESS: Lightly grilled…


…Facebook boss

It’s not every corporate head that get’s their life story presented by Hollywood just after they hit 26! But then Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of Facebook – ain’t no ordinary Chief Executive!! He’s a larger than life figure who’s so altered the world through Facebook’s connectivity, we can’t even figure out where it’ll all end. (The connectivity…not the world!!)

After creating what’s got to be the biggest unregulated monopoly in the history of capitalism, the baby-faced tycoon faced a Senate hearing after it was revealed that his company sold personal details of millions of users of the platform in the US. Fifty-seven million? Eighty million?? Whatever’s the final number, it doesn’t even include those plucked in other countries –including Guyana!!

The company that bought the data – its name doesn’t really matter, does it? – mined them for all sorts of purposes including voting preferences. In a nutshell, just like you start getting those ads on drill bits the moment after you look up “drills” on Google, the “data mining” companies can direct personalised information about why you should vote for their candidate. And these won’t even be “ads” – it could simply be articles from magazines you read (and most likely trust!) that take similar positions with the candidate!

Anyhow, from the moment Zuckerberg slipped into his (extra-cushioned) seat in a suit and tie rather than his trademark T-shirt, it was clear this was going to be more of a star-struck session than an interrogation. Especially when 44 of the 50 Senators showed up – compared to the seven that served on the Watergate Pane to impeach Nixonl!!

For most, it must’ve taken all their self-control not to request an autograph!! A most well-briefed Zukerberg – his speaking notes were placed on twitter! – was even told when to say “sorry”!!

The thrust of those that did want to ask some questions – and not throw powder-puffs – was to find where Zuckerberg stood on whether – for instance – Facebook ought to be regulated. And to all these (comparatively) hard questions, Zuckerberg was given a stock answer: I’m not sure…but my staff will get back to you important adults!! That’s right, the man who showed his killer instincts by going for the jugular while he was still in college – played up his baby-faced charm to the hilt. He even got a few laughs – but no threats to draft a bill to regulate the Leviathan, Facebook had become.

For what it was worth, Zuckerberg played his role so well, the market made his personal wealth increase by US$3 billion – since he eased fears about regulation.

The notorious bank robber “Baby Face Nelson” died at 26. Baby Face Zuckerberg had only started OWNING the banks by then!!

…on bonus

No one can say for sure where that purported US$18 million bonus – which Exxon gave to the Government for signing the biggest giveaway since Manhattan was sold for US$24 in beads and trinkets – is right now. It was supposed to be in a “special account” at the Bank of Guyana – which isn’t meant to take deposits. But now we’ve been told it’s in the Consolidated Fund where it was supposed to be in the first place. Yet we still don’t know for sure.

Be as it may, we were told the banking runaround – which appears suspiciously close to fit the description of “money laundering! – was occasioned by the specification the money was supposed to be held (“in escrow”, said the President!!) for our ICJ legal bills. Trotman was afraid someone else may claim first dibs on it!?! Presumably, that fear has been eased? How?

Anyhow, Greenidge – in charge of the ICJ matter – says the US$18 million actually allocated for the legal fees ain’t gonna be enough.
So are we gonna ask Exxon to cover the shortfall?

…on private schools

First it was the privately owned Berbice Bridge tolls. And now the Government’s intervened to jawbone the privately-owned Mae’s to lower their school fees!
What’s next? Nationalising the banks to lower their interest rates?? Galloping Burnhamism?


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