I am certain that many of us would gladly swap places with Mark Zuckerberg. For a start, you would assume the mantle of world's most powerful person (afforded to you by media and the billions of people who use the tool you created) – apologies to Donald Trump.

Secondly, there is the wealth associated with this position and the business of Facebook.

And there probably are a number of other reasons.

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However, of late, the position described above has not been such a pleasant place to reside. The revelation of a massive privacy breach in recent weeks has been a hammer blow to Facebook and its brand – especially the notion that Facebook was created with the intention of setting up a community and that it cared about its users. 'Data mining', as it is so called, in this case involved data on around 50 million Facebook users being obtained without permission and used for other purposes.


By time the New York Times and London's Observer had reported it, the deed was well and truly done.

But how much data is obtained in this way and how often does this occur? I don't know the answer to this question, but given the way these social media platforms and mobile technology operate all the ingredients are there for this to occur regularly.

This got me to thinking about the benefits of Facebook and other platforms like Twitter. Sure, you get to stay in touch with people and share things and happenings in your life – but what is the unspoken price of the service? And is it really worth what we get in return? In fact, if you look at social media and write a simple 'pros and cons' list the cons win by some margin. From a business perspective there is the lost productivity and distraction of the platforms and, after years of being present on Facebook in particular, I can count on one hand the business (and even leads) generated from it.

Then there is the proliferation of the purveyors of untruths and rumour and, more worryingly, the followers and believers of nonsense which enters their consciousness because a 'friend' posted it. All of this occurring while users are almost hypnotised in their use of the platforms - opening themselves up for the world to see their information and, in the worst cases, have their profiles harvested by people they are not aware of. And we don't have time to touch on stalking which is possible and invisible on all platforms.

No one would set up a billboard in the middle of town and plaster it with personal information for people including strangers to see, copy and distribute to others. So it is interesting that we all, me included, have embraced (and more importantly trusted) these conglomerates which exist and operate pretty much outside of the reach of consumers and the governments that represent them.

More recently because I have been absent from it, Facebook has started texting my phone, telling me to share with my Friends – curious because my phone number is not included in my Facebook profile, albeit I have used my phone to access it. It even tells me when I have arrived at home. I know how it does these things, but do I want or even need them? – unlikely.

So my Facebook holiday looks likely to become a permanent absence. I don't think that Mr Zuckerberg and his revenue generating machine will miss me, but for those that remain I hope that their data is safe and free from prying eyes.