Facebook Founder Zuckerberg’s Asperger’s Problem

Facebook Founder Zuckerberg’s Asperger’s Reason for Privacy Problem?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s staff member has stated in the past that Zuckerberg has a “touch of the Asperger’s,” and that he has “zero empathy.” He was talking about the disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome, and Zuckerberg’s affliction could be contributing to Facebook’s privacy problem. The social network has been under fire in recent days over privacy concerns; specifically over the newest incarnation of its privacy policy, which allows Facebook to use people’s photos, names and other personal information for advertising, with no compensation to the person whose likeness is being used.

Could Mark Zuckerberg’s Asperger’s Syndrome be a contributing factor in his lack of concern for his customers’ privacy? In an online guide entitled “Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger’s Syndrome,” late author Marc Segar, who himself had Asperger’s, lays out some of the most significant problems those with Asperger’s face, and one of those problems, according to him, is poor listening skills.

“To join in a conversation you need to listen to it,” Segar says in his guide. “Listening can be extremely difficult, especially if you have to keep your ears open 24 hours a day, but you can get better with practice. The most important thing to listen to is the plot of the conversation.”

This difficulty in listening may be a driving factor behind the fact that Mark Zuckerberg does not seem to listen to, nor to care about, people’s privacy concerns. Thousands if not millions of Facebook users have weighed in on the issue, asking him to be more mindful of their privacy, and instead of listening, he continually loosens his privacy policy. Now, he basically owns our images and names, and can use them for advertising for his own financial gain.

In another section of the guide, Segar states “To assess a social situation, one needs to pick up on as many clues as possible and swiftly piece them together. The final deduction is often greater than the sum of its parts. Also, a difficult thing for an autistic person is ‘finding a balance’ and this may show its self at all levels of behavior and reasoning. The ability to adapt to the ‘situation continuum’ and conform to the surrounding world is however an extremely ancient survival strategy which is most relevant in the social sector of life.”

This behavior, which manifests itself in not being able to pick up on social clues, could also be a factor in Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to take his customers’ concerns seriously. Even when the information is not being delivered by subtle clues but rather by very clearly stated desires; Zuckerberg seems to be totally oblivious.

Another issue people with Asperger’s have, according to Segar, is they think people who do not have Asperger’s are “ruthless” and purposely try to cause others to be embarrassed. “A non-autistic person’s sense of humor is often to do with finding clever ways of pointing out faults in other people and causing them embarrassment,” says Segar. “Everyone is a victim of someone else’s humor at some time or another but some people are made to suffer more than others. Sometimes non autistic people can get quite ruthless with their humor… In the eyes of many zoologists, humor is a human replacement for the violence which animals use on each other to establish an order of dominance (the pecking order)”

Perhaps Zuckerberg also views non-Asperger’s people this way, as violent animals, and as a result, is embittered against them, thus causing his own ruthless behavior when it comes to our right to privacy.

In his excellent article entitled, “The Tech Industry’s Asperger Problem: Affliction Or Insult?” Blogger Ryan Tate quotes author Jason Calacanis in saying that Zuckerberg is an “an amoral, Asperger’s-like entrepreneur.” Calacanis goes on to say “The dual nature of Asperger’s, from my understanding, is that it makes the individual focused on very specific behaviors–obsessively so in many cases–while decreasing their capacity for basic empathy and communication. It’s almost as if you trade off intensity in one area for common decency and communications in another area–not that the person has a choice.”

Tate goes on to posit:

To what extent can rampant abuse of user privacy among tech startups be traced to Asperger Disorder? And to what extent does modern web programming, in its demand for both speed and obsessive attention to technical detail, inherently reward Aspergian tendencies? Are the very Aspergers-like features that made Silicon Valley a hotbed of innovation — a relentless desire to commune with machines, a willingness to push past consumers’ technological comfort zones — turning it into an antisocial, sometimes parasitic force?

Is it a good idea to give someone with Asperger’s, who clearly has different ways of relating to non-Asperger’s people, so much power and control over all of our lives? Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s Asperger’s Syndrome has led us all into this current age of total non-privacy. In fact, Zuckerberg has stated outright that he does not believe in privacy, which is odd, since by all accounts, people with Asperger’s are extremely concerned about their own privacy. Indeed, Zuckerberg is a famously private person, but he obviously cares nothing about anyone else’s privacy. Could it be an Asperger’s-induced lack of empathy causing this, as stated by Calacanis?

We’ve handed over the reins of our privacy to someone afflicted with a disorder that makes them sometimes unable to listen, non-empathetic and often unable to pick up on cues; someone who potentially views non-Asperger’s people with scorn, as if non-Asperger’s people were zoo animals intent on hurting Asperger’s people with the “violence” of humor. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has Asperger’s and it seems to be affecting him while also contributing to Facebook’s privacy problem. The question is- what can we do about it?

By: Rebecca Savastio

(op-ed)

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35 Responses to "Facebook Founder Zuckerberg’s Asperger’s Problem"

  1. Jennifer Tidd   April 19, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    offensive NONSENSE not scientifically based or based on studying Aspies, but rooted in watching terrible movie depictions of Aspies. Spreading false garbage like this about people on the Autism Spectrum hurts our kids and you should remove this abelist, fact-free SMUT. I have two kids on the Autism Spectrum. One is autistic, the other has Asperger’s Syndrome. They have plenty of feelings and empathy. They just don’t know how to show it often and aren’t emotionally expressive like neuro-typical people are. I’m so sick of ableism and the purveyors of such swill. #SHAME

  2. Kristina Sophia   March 14, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I have worked in the IT industry extensively, and the TRUTH is a lot of programmers etc tend to have issues along the autism, aspergers spectrum. This has advantages and DISADVANTAGES. The article is needed in the debate. Facebook has a lot of power and we need to know MORE about the creators.

    • Simon   April 10, 2018 at 6:48 am

      Great!–do not sell him an ar15 or any other gun-all we need is another mentally challenged liberal whack job killing more people-and this damn country will punish the normal hobby gun owners AGAIN.

  3. Shannon Anderson   October 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    As an Aspie, I am deeply offended by this article which uses outdated research and a complete lack of understanding about Aspergers to find fault where there is none. Firstly, Mark in undiagnosed, as far as we know. If he has been, it is his choice to make that public, although why he would want to, I don’t know. Yes, he does show traits of Aspergers but so do many others. In terms of Aspies having empathy, research articles by Professor Tony Attwood, who is the worlds leading expert on Aspergers Syndrome. You will find up to date information that tells you that Aspies, do indeed, have empathy, some times too much. Mark Zuckerberg is a genius, but geniuses, without Aspergers, do exist. In terms of the privacy of Facebook, the user should read the terms and conditions, understand what they are signing, and if they are concerned about their privacy, don’t accept them. It’s quite simple really. You are trying to blame Mark and/or Aspergers because people will not take responsibility for their own actions. No-one forces you to sign up to Facebook.

    • Chip   April 10, 2018 at 3:38 am

      My son has asberger-he has no empathy and doesn’t understand it-he is also very smart, but not too many people can tolerate him, he couldn’t give 2 cents for people’s privacy-he doesn’t understand the need-if he hurts your feelings-it doesn’t bother him-Zuckerberg will be on the losing end of this situation.

  4. Cyn   December 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    And you MUST fight to protect everyone else’s rights EQUALLY or be sued, too – You see, I’m an access specialist, have mixed race family (of whom I love so very much), and have been trained through our states disability law center !!

  5. Khawar Nehal   September 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    People do not read terms and conditions. Aspies can understand them better. Sometimes aspies can gain an advantage when terms are so outrageous that people would not believe that they can be written down and presented for approval.
    Highly mature aspies (above 35 years of age) usually know that when they get in a position of power, they are to be very careful with it. So as not to hurt people. Mr. Zukerberg has tried to add security as much as possible to a PHP based platform. Expecting him to give up low cost and development speed to use perl and C++ just to increase security is a dangerous business model which could slow down FB’s development.
    Want a secure solution. Implement your own CMS on your site. Asking a free public CMS to meet your requirements goes against the old time thing in BBS services.
    Access and usage is a privilege not a right. Some users forget that the sysop decides what the policies are. Users have the right to make their own BBS if they want to.
    Regards,
    Khawar Nehal
    http://dubai-computer-services.com

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