Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in trouble again.
Facebook is not known for its respect of user privacy, and this is no secret to Facebook users or the Federal Communications Commission. When the FCC prepared to approve Facebook’s acquisition of text message company WhatsApp, the FCC sternly warned Facebook to respect the privacy of WhatsApp users and notify them of any future changes to WhatsApp privacy laws. Zuckerberg and his team promised to abide by current WhatsApp privacy laws, but a Fars province court is now calling for Zuckerberg’s appearance in Iran to answer charges that WhatsApp and Instagram have violated user privacy laws. “Following a complaint lodged by some of our fellow countrymen over the violation of their privacy and problems ensuing from WhatsApp and Instagram, the judiciary official has ordered a ban on these two software devices. Based on the judge’s verdict, the Zionist manager of Facebook…should report to the prosecutor’s office to defend himself and make compensation for damages,” said senior Iranian Internet security official Rouhollah Momen-Nasab.
The reference to Zuckerberg as a “Zionist manager” refers to the Facebook founder’s Jewish heritage, and Israel and Iran have a history of conflict in the Middle East that spans decades. Iran is currently seeing an intense political climate as conservatives aim to ban WhatsApp and other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook while some moderate officials having Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected on account of his promise of greater social media tolerance in the country.
Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram, and recently purchased drone manufacturer Ascenta and virtual reality handset company Oculus. The company has planned to unveil new user privacy protection changes to Facebook in coming days. At the F8 Developers’ Conference, Facebook unveiled new features that will allow you to share only your personal data (instead of friend data), and lets you customize the data you choose to share (gender but not birthday, for example). Facebook currently has over 1 billion users, and Zuckerberg was made Forbes’ list of young billionaires back in 2008.