Turns out 27-year-old founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have a $2 billion tax bill that, according to a variety of sources, he intends to pay in full.
He seems like a regular guy...or is he?
To say I'm skeptical of his intentions would be an insult to actual skeptics. I think the "Zuck" is a great guy, but a regular guy? No way.
He didn't build from scratch a business that has 845 million customers by being stupid.
Zuckerberg goes to great lengths to project an aw-shucks kind of image. But in reality, this move is about as down-to-earth as Kim Kardashian's wedding. And it's every bit as sophisticated a play as I would have expected out of Larry Ellison or the late Steve Jobs.
Zuckerberg (and presumably his advisors) knows that the stakes couldn't be higher than they are at the moment, which is why he wants to pay this tax bill and reinforce the illusion that Facebook is part of Middle America - instead of being built upon its back.
He knows that successfully doing so will help him monetize your information when Facebook goes public.
I say this because it's important to remember the only reason Facebook is worth anything is because users - people like you - have voluntarily, with no compensation whatsoever, assembled the greatest single collection of marketing data in recorded history. That's right. Your data is going to make him rich.
So where are all the privacy advocates now?
I'd love to see what Facebook's proposed valuation would be if 845 million people suddenly decided they really don't want to share their most intimate moments with friends or decide they don't really want to "like" anything.
And why hasn't the Occupy Wall Street crowd or the Tax the Rich bunch latched onto this?
Because evidently none of them can spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. And many are probably too busy using Facebook to "meme" about their activities to pay attention anyway.
But that's really beside the point.
A Zuckerberg Tax? ...Give me a BreakThere should be a huge amount of backlash, but there isn't. Well, unless you count any number of proposals like the "Zuckerberg Tax" advanced last Tuesday in a New York Times OpEd piece by tax lawyer David Miller.
Miller advocates allowing the government to claw back money from the ultra-wealthy. He believes that individuals earning more than $2.2 million in income or having more than $5.7 million in securities should have their stocks marked to market and taxed even if they haven't sold their investments.