New York Magazine’s tech-and-design issue cover story explores how Facebook has become both a company that gives you birthday reminders and one that recently helped ensure the integrity of the German election. When not even CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems prepared for the role it has played in global politics over the past year, how can we be assured Facebook is really safeguarding democracy for us, and it’s not us who need to be safeguarding democracy against Facebook?
“One consistent joke made in response to the Mark Zuckerberg–for–president rumors has been to ask why he’d want to be president when he’s already more powerful than one,” says senior editor Max Read, who wrote the piece. “I like that joke because I think it’s telling: Zuckerberg may not have a nuclear arsenal, but he’s at the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies. So powerful, in fact, that ‘company’ might not properly encompass it.” As Read began reporting on Zuckerberg’s trip around the country, it became clear to him that Facebook has become much more than a social network. “This piece was an attempt to describe the most important company in the world, and the implications of its growing power.”