The scrutiny Facebook attracted from Washington over user data privacy controversies can hardly end well for the world's largest social media network as clashing with the United States government "is a battle that you simply can't win," according to Jedidiah Yueh, founder and Executive Chairman of data technology company Delphix whose list of clients included Facebook. In an interview with AndroidHeadlines, Mr. Yueh drew parallels with Facebook's current predicaments that are already resulting in hour-long hearings for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft's legal troubles from the '90s when Bill Gates was spending the vast majority of his time dealing with regulators instead of actually running the Redmond-based tech giant.
"It's a back-to-the-future scenario," the industry veteran said, referencing the similarities between Facebook and Microsoft's situations which were caused by different issues but ultimately resulted in their respective CEOs adopting a more hands-on approach to dealing with Washington while sacrificing their time previously dedicated to other corporate affairs. Ultimately, Mr. Gates's commitment to communicating with U.S. regulators threatening to split Microsoft into two parts is widely reported to have been one of the reasons that pushed him into early retirement. While Facebook's controversies stem from different issues and are still in their early days wherein they haven't resulted in any legal ramifications for the company to date, they may end up looking much more similar by the time they're resolved, according to the industry veteran. "I can see history repeating itself," Mr. Yueh said, having suggested Mr. Zuckerberg is currently facing the biggest challenge in his career.
"It's inevitable that a large, disruptive tech company will run into a ceiling called the government" which isn't a clash that any private firm can ever hope to win, according to the Delphix official. Mr. Zuckerberg recently concluded his three-day visit to Washington that saw him being grilled by regulators over the Cambridge Analytica scandal for nearly ten hours, though the two congressional hearings he attended ultimately revealed little but promises that Facebook will do better to protect the privacy of its users moving forward. As part of his April statements, Mr. Zuckerberg also repeatedly stressed that Facebook's business model has often been misrepresented in the media as the social media giant doesn't sell user data it collects but instead utilizes it for targeting advertisements and consequently selling access to custom demographics to marketers without letting them know which individuals are seeing their ads.