“Facebook’s way of friending the powerful is original. It ingratiates itself with members of Congress by sending helpers to maximize the constituent-pleasing, re-election-securing power of their Facebook pages. “If you want to have long-term influence, there’s nothing better than having politicians dependent on your product,” one envious Silicon Valley executive told me.
What might Facebook want from its new friends in Washington? It’s not hard to imagine. Since Facebook’s most promising path to prosperity is selling ads based on your likes and dislikes, the company will be wary of any government attempt to enforce privacy standards that interfere with the company’s ability to mine your information. Since the company is jostling for dominance with the likes of Google, Apple, Twitter and Amazon, it will be paying attention to antitrust actions that could curtail its ability to use its market muscle.
Somewhere on his way from Harvard geek to Silicon Valley titan, Mark Zuckerberg adopted an ideology of “radical transparency.” He is getting what must be an uncomfortable dose of that now. This surge of scrutiny ought to make us smarter, more sober consumers. The challenge for Facebook is how to retain the trust of its wised-up users even as he commoditizes us — that is, how to sell us on without creeping us out.”