Who wore it best? Take your pick of Zuckerberg-as-Gulliver covers

By Published on .

Credit: Village Voice, Variety

Citizens of Lilliput, unite! We must subdue the evil Gulliver—er, Zuckerberg!

Variety's just-released cover story doesn't exactly say that, but that's the subtext of the trade magazine's "Gulliver's Travels"-inspired cover illustration (above right). In his piece headlined "Facebook Under Fire: How Privacy Crisis Could Change Big Data Forever," Variety's Todd Spangler quotes Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research at GBH Insights, as calling the Cambridge Analytica scandal "the darkest chapter in Facebook's 14-year history." Spangler then notes that,

The regulatory aftershocks could rattle companies beyond Facebook. In the big M&A deals in play in the media sector—AT&T's bid for Time Warner, Comcast's pending acquisition of Sky, Disney's proposed takeover of 20th Century Fox—streaming media is front and center. And everyone wants to use big data to serve up highly targeted ads over the internet, just as Facebook does. "Hundreds of billions of dollars [in digital ad spending] are at stake over the next several years over this issue," Ives estimates.

Read Spangler's full story here.

If Variety's cover concept seems familiar, that's because six years ago the Village Voice ran a Mark-Zuckerberg-as-Gulliver illustration by Jungyeon Roh on its cover. (I've emailed Roh for her thoughts on Variety's new cover and will update this post when I hear back.) Roh's art was commissioned to front Nick Pinto's Feb. 15, 2002 issue cover story headlined "The Facebook Killers" (subhead: "The New York upstarts who want to take down a privacy-killing giant"). In the story, Pinto flashes back to a 2000 speech by Software Freedom Law Center founder Eben Moglen:

Tracing the history of the Internet, Moglen found many culprits in the transformation of the Web into a tool of control and surveillance, but he reserved special blame for one person.

"Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record," Moglen said of the founder of Facebook. "He has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age."

Why? Because, Moglen said, Mark Zuckerberg had harnessed the energy of our social desires to talk us into a swindle. "Everybody needs to get laid," Moglen said. "He turned it into a structure for degenerating the integrity of human personality, and he has to a remarkable extent succeeded with a very poor deal. Namely, 'I will give you free Web hosting and some PHP doodads, and you get spying for free all the time.'"

Read Pinto's full story here.

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