Gizmodo posted a “story” yesterday entitled “We’ll Pay You for Photos of Mark Zuckerberg.” Desperation aside, this is as crazy as it is stupid (And we’re not even sure it’s legal).
See, Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of a company. Sure, that company is all about sharing with friends, but when you have more than 14 million people subscribed to your page, sharing a photo or a link on Facebook becomes an entirely different beast. He’s scrutinized on everything that he’s ever publicly shared. Just take a look at the IPO hoodie bonanza.
So it makes sense that a CEO, a businessman in its truest sense, wouldn’t want to be splashed across magazine covers and speculated about on gossip columns (which is essentially what Gizmodo’s media network, Gawker Media, is centered around). He kept his wedding fiercely private because marrying your long-time girlfriend, and likely one of the only women you can trust, is an intensely private affair.
So why bother him? I mean, if I (as a reporter) witnessed Zuck beating his dog or something totally insane, I would probably snap a picture and send it to my editors. It’s our job to expose the truth even if the truth is messy. It’s not, however, our job to sick the wild masses onto CEOs so we can rake in clicks from pictures of Zuck walking his dog. (From what I’ve heard, most public sightings of Zuck consist of him and Priscilla walking the dog — thrilling, I know.)
There are a couple of things to consider here:
Everybody cares about Zuckerberg, so these photos are sure to bring in some traffic. He’s a fascinating fellow, who changed the world in a very real way. Plus, he’s hella rich, and rich people are interesting. The same was true for Steve Jobs — people prodded into his life as they could, taking pictures of his car and perhaps too fiercely delving into his medical history. But did he like it? No.
Did he deserve it? Hells no!
Now, I understand that media can get a little cut-throat. Hell, Gizmodo basically ruined its reputation as a real tech blog the moment it paid for that iPhone 4 and got into a spat with Mr. Jobs. Sure, the site probably saw more traffic that day than it ever has (or ever will again), but now it’s a tech culture blog that never gets invited to any Apple events.
And guess what? They’ll never be invited to any Facebook events either once they get a picture of Zuck picking his nose.
Just like any of us, Zuck has the right to keep his private life off of Facebook. And Gizmodo’s price of $20 per photo is even more desperate than their story’s headline.
I’m disappointed, Giz.
Good luck dodging amateur photographers, Zuck. (And buy yourself a nice hat and some sunglasses. Looks like it’s going to be a long, weird summer.)