Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook’s CEO – is the most powerful person alive today. He may even be the most powerful person ever.
Traditionally, the president of the United States has been considered the most powerful person on Earth. After all, President Donald Trump controls the most powerful military on the planet, and has considerable influence over the $18 trillion US economy.
But President Trump is beholden to systems that keep his power in check: congress and the supreme court, term limits, and the will of the American electorate.
Mark Zuckerberg has none of these limitations. His power flows from Facebook, the seventh largest corporation on the planet by market capitalization, of which he owns 18% of the stock and controls 60% of the voting rights.
At 32 years of age, he could remain the CEO of Facebook for another 50 years.
But financials are just a small part of what makes Facebook so powerful. Here are some ways it dominates human attention:
- More than one billion people use Facebook each day. 1/4 of all time spent on the internet is spent using Facebook.
- For many people, Facebook literally is the internet. It’s the first place most people go to announce weddings, births, deaths, and other major life events.
- Facebook is increasingly the place where people consume other forms of media.
Through its Free Basics program, Facebook has literallyfor the world’s poor (who have to pay money to access websites that are outside of Facebook).
Facebook has also used its monopoly on human attention to control, affecting public opinion from the shadows. And Facebook knows far more about humanity – and individual humans – than any other company or government on Earth. 500 terabytes of our personal data flow into Facebook every day.
So far, Zuckerberg has mainly used Facebook’s power to further grow Facebook. He’s acquired Facebook’s most serious competitors: Instagram and WhatsApp. He’s now competing with YouTube for video and Twitter for real time communication.
He’s even creating AIs and launching satellites. But as Facebook races toward becoming the largest corporation ever, his plans for it may change. Even though he has pledged toduring the course of his life, he will retain control of its board. And his power comes not from his billions of dollars, but from his access to our attention and our data.
For the rest of his life, Zuckerberg will be able to bring Facebook’s incredible power to bear in achieving whatever ends he desires. Let’s hope he has benevolent plans in store for us as you can see why Mark Zuckerberg is the most powerful person alive today